What We Teach

SUNDAY MORNING LIFE GROUP STUDY

September 19, 2021: God’s proven Control

Overview

Biblical Passage

Job 1:1–2:10, 42:10–17 Supporting Passages

James 1:2–4, Job 42:1–10 Memory Verse Job 1:21 Biblical Truth

God is in control of all things. Context

The previous lesson concerning Noah illustrated the sinful nature of man and God’s grace that was provided to save His people. It also showed God’s control over His creation. The current lesson on Job teaches us more about God’s control. God’s role in Job’s life is personal for Job, but it also proved Him once again to be the sovereign God over creation and spiritual forces. With this background, we then begin to study Abraham and God’s promise to bless all nations through him in the next lesson. We can trust that God will be faithful to this promise because He maintains control over the entire universe. Learning Goals

  • Explore: Students will acknowledge that following God obediently does not guarantee a life free from difficulties.
  • Transform: Students will commit to trusting God during suffering and joy.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43655/lesson/27

september 12, 2021: the flood

Overview

Biblical Passage

Genesis 6:5–22, Hebrews 11:7 Supporting Passages

Genesis 7:1–9:17 Memory Verse

Hebrews 11:7  Biblical Truth

Like Noah, we must trust the Word of God and be obedient because of our faith in Him. Context

Genesis 6 gives us a dark picture. The earth was a disaster area. Humans were proud and ruthless. In fact, the primary sin in Genesis 3–9 was violence (Gen. 4:8, 4:23–24, 6:11, 6:13). God was grieved, and His heart was filled with pain (v. 6). Though God still loved the world, He was (and is) always holy. Because of His justice, there had to be judgment of sin. God chose to utterly destroy humankind. There was, however, one ray of light: Noah. Noah found favor with God. One just and upright man had a different lifestyle that stood out from everyone around him. He showed loving obedience to God. So God saved this one man and his family. Noah trusted and obeyed God because he had faith in Him (Heb. 11:7). Learning Goals

  • Students will describe the contrast between the righteousness that God desires and the surrounding world.
  • Students will identify reasons and opportunities to follow God in an evil world.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43655/lesson/26

September 5, 2021: unacceptable Sacrifice

Overview

Biblical Passage

Genesis 4:1–16, Hebrews 11:4, 1 John 3:12 Supporting Passages

Genesis 4:17–26 Memory Verse

Genesis 4:7  Biblical Truth

We should approach God with an attitude of faith and humility. Context

In the previous lesson, we saw how Adam and Eve’s decision to eat fruit from the tree that God had forbidden affected the entire world. Their choice to sin resulted in grave consequences: They were banished from the Garden of Eden, and everyone after them would be born with a sinful nature. The lives of Cain and Abel illustrate the sinful nature that has infected the world. Sin has quickly turned the world from paradise to sin and crime. The lesson after this one (about the Flood) testifies to the exponential growth of sin and depravity in the world. Throughout all of these stories, we can see God’s judgment against sin while also witnessing His grace. Learning Goals

  • Explore: Students will determine that God desires that they offer their best to Him in faith.
  • Transform: Students will evaluate their worship priorities to determine if God is currently the priority in their lives.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43655/lesson/25

August 29, 2021: adam & eve’s deadly decision

Overview

Biblical Passage

Genesis 3:1–24 Supporting Passages

Genesis 2:15–25; Romans 5:12–14, Romans 16:20 Memory Verse

Romans 16:20 Context

God created man in His own image to be a reflection of Himself. God called all of His creation “very good.” God and humanity then existed in a close relationship until sin entered the world. This lesson explores how sin first entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The impact of their sin on all people is subsequently illustrated in the following lesson through the sin of Cain. Learning Goals

  • Students will learn how sin entered and affected God’s created world.
  • Students will evaluate how to live in a fallen world without being deceived.

Biblical Truth

God allows us to feel the consequences of sin, but through Jesus Christ He forgives us and heals our relationship with Him.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43655/lesson/24

AUGUST 22, 2021: GOD THE PERFECT CREATOR

Overview

Biblical Passage

Genesis 1:1–2, 1:26–31; Hebrews 11:3  Supporting Passages

Psalm 8:3–8, John 1:1–3, Colossians 1:15–17, Revelation 4:11 Memory Verse

Genesis 1:27 Biblical Truth

God created the world from nothing and made people in His own image. Context

The creation account serves as the beginning point of the entire Bible. How people understand their origin shapes their entire worldview. Genesis 1 describes the beginning, the movement from chaos to a perfectly ordered world. Humanity is God’s crowning achievement in all of the created order. God created man and woman in His very image. He created them for a purpose: to worship and fellowship with Him and to rule over His wonderfully created world. This passage marks the starting point for a study of the Old Testament because God’s divine encounters with people began with Adam and Eve.  Learning Goals

  • Explore: Students will understand the greatness of the Creator and His creation.
  • Transform: Students will begin to value God’s creation and His direction to care for His world.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43655/lesson/23

August 15, 2021: FulFilled

lesson overview

Biblical Passage Matthew 5:17–20

Supporting Passages Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 52:13–53:12; Luke 24:27; John 5:39; John 8:37–43; Romans 10:1–4; 2 Timothy 3:15–17

Memory Verse Matthew 5:17

Biblical Truth: Believers can have confidence in the promises of Scripture and assurance of salvation because Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament.

Context: An amazing relationship exists between Jesus and the Old Testament. Christ fulfilled the Law. He obeyed it perfectly. He fulfilled its prophecies. He paid the full penalty of the Law as the substitute for sinners. Christ is the One who completed God’s work in redemptive history. God’s plan has been unfolding since the beginning. Many men across many centuries wrote the 66 books that make up the Bible. Jesus Christ is the key to interpreting the whole Bible. He is Scripture’s consistent and unified message. In beginning a 48-lesson journey through the Old Testament, the only appropriate place to start is with Christ. This lesson will look at what Jesus had to say about the value of the Old Testament. Learning Goals

Explore: Students will understand that the Old Testament is ultimately completed in the person of Jesus Christ.
Transform: Students will begin to value the Old Testament for revealing God’s character and plans.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43655/lesson/22

AUGUST 8, 2021: HIS CALL OF COMMISSION

Biblical Passage

Matthew 28:17–20 Supporting Passages

Mark 16:15–16; Luke 24:46–49 Memory Verse

Matthew 28:18–20 Biblical Truth

Jesus Christ commissioned His believers to share His message with all people so that all people have the opportunity to become His followers. Context

Immediately before His ascension, Jesus gave His disciples final instructions for making new disciples throughout the world. Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that Jesus has authority to commanded and empower them to make disciples.
  • Students will apply their understanding by committing to join with Jesus Christ in making disciples of all nations.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43183/lesson/1835

JULY 25, 2021: HIS RESURRECTION

Lesson Overview

Biblical Passage

John 20:1-18 Supporting Passages

Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12 Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Biblical Truth

Jesus’ resurrection is a challenge for you to believe and follow Him. Context

Two days after Jesus’ burial, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it empty. Thinking Jesus’ body had been taken, she informed Peter and John, both of whom returned with her to the tomb. Upon seeing the burial cloth, John believed Jesus had risen. Afterward, Jesus revealed Himself to Mary, who had stayed behind. Mary later shared the encounter with the disciples. Learning Goals

  • Students will explore the reactions of Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John to the Risen Christ.
  • Students will practice the skill of telling another person how Christ’s resurrection has impacted them.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43183/lesson/1833

July 18, 2021: The Criminals’ Questions

Lesson Overview

Biblical Passage

Luke 23:39–56 Supporting Passages

Matthew 15:39; Luke 23:32–38; John 19:38–42 Memory Verse

John 1:12 Biblical Truth

Jesus will forgive anyone who believes in His sacrificial death. Context

Jesus was crucified between two criminals. One mocked and insulted Him. The other rebuked the first, and trusted Christ. A Roman centurion proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God after witnessing the crucifixion. After His death, Jesus’ body was cared for and buried by two members of the Sanhedrin: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that Jesus’ sacrificial death was sufficient payment for our sin.
  • Students will apply their understanding of Jesus’ death in practicing their belief in Jesus through public witness.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43183/lesson/1832

July 11, 2021: His Crucifixion

Lesson Overview

Biblical Passage

John 19:1–37 Supporting Passages

Matthew 27:27–66; Mark 15:16–47; Luke 23:26–56; John 19:38–42 Memory Verse

John 15:13 Biblical Truth

Jesus freely gave up His life as a sacrifice for your sin. Context

Jesus was beaten and mocked before being sentenced to death. Though Pilate, the Roman governor, saw no reason to execute Jesus, he gave in to the Jewish leaders and the crowds who wanted Jesus crucified. Jesus was crucified with two criminals and died after suffering on the cross. Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that Jesus willingly gave His life for us.
  • Students will begin to value the forgiveness that was bought at the expense of Jesus’ life.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43183/lesson/1831

June 27, 2021: He is the Vine

Lesson Overview

Biblical Passage

John 15:1-8 Supporting Passage

John 15:9-27 Memory Verse

John 15:5 Biblical Truth

People see our commitment to Jesus when we remain connected to Him through fellowship with Him, surrender to His will, and obey His Word. Context

Jesus compared Himself to a vine and His followers to branches. He taught that if they remained connected to Him, they would produce much fruit and give evidence of their relationship with Him. Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that a true relationship with Christ is marked by spiritual fruit as a result of abiding with Jesus.
  • Students will discuss what it means to stay connected to Christ every day.

To view the master teaching guide: https://manager.lifebiblestudy.com/calendar/43183/lesson/1829

May 30th, 2021: NO LIFEGROUPS

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. One service at 10am

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 05/26/2021:

MZS Summer Kick Off Party on the baseball field


May 23rd, 2021: the pharisees’ and sadducees’ questions

Biblical Passage

Matthew 23:24–28

Supporting Passage

Matthew 22:15-23:36

Memory Verse

1  Peter 2:1

Biblical Truth

God demands more than religious rituals. He wants a genuine relationship with His people.

Context

After being questioned by the Sadducees and Pharisees who were trying to trap Him, Jesus responded by admonishing their hypocritical lifestyles.

Learning Goals

  • Students will understand the meaning of hypocrisy.
  • Students will begin to value authenticity as a valuable characteristic of God’s people.

To view the Master Teacher Guide click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 05/19/2021:

REBELLIOUS WK 2

BOTTOM LINE

 Be rebellious enough to do something you don’t think you can do.

SCRIPTURE

 Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

 For students to be open to the possibility that God can use them in ways that are bigger than they can imagine.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
  2. Who is a person you have seen who accomplished a goal that seemed impossible?  (Leader note: This can range from a trick shot challenge on social media to running a marathon, gaining a million followers on TikTok, etc.)
  3. Why do you think people tend to be discouraged to start or finish goals that are really big?  
  4. Read Matthew 28:19-20. How would you have felt being in the audience hearing Jesus challenge His followers to go out into all the world and “make disciples of all nations?” 
  5. When Jesus told his followers to go into all the world it felt like an impossible task. What would be a modern-day example of an impossible task?
  6. What are some impossible problems in our world you care about but are really big?  
  7. What would it look like for you to take one step towards trying to make a difference in that area?  
  8. How would your life look different if you lived like you believed God wants to use you uniquely to accomplish big things?

THINK ABOUT THIS

 Teenagers are wired toward action but that passionate desire for action can become anxiety or apathy when it seems like so much needs to be done that it becomes overwhelming and seemingly hopeless. Help them re-focus by thinking in terms of the small steps they can take that add up to make a big difference, and remind them of the hope we have that God will make all things right.

TRY THIS This week challenge your group to take one step towards trying to make a difference in the area they mentioned. Invite them to share that with the group in a group text. Be sure to celebrate any student who takes a step this week.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY

May 16th, 2021: His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Biblical Passage

Luke 19:28–40

Supporting Passages

Matthew 21:1-11Mark 11:1-11John 12:12-19

Memory Verse

John 4:24

Biblical Truth

True worship comes when you understand and respond to who Jesus really is.Context

A few days before the Passover, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey amidst the praise of crowds of people, many of whom really did not understand Him or His mission.Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that worship begins with recognition of the Lord.
  • Students will apply their understanding of true worship in evaluating their worship experiences.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 05/12/2021:

REBELLIOUS WK 1

BOTTOM LINE

Be rebellious enough to do what you don’t have to do.

SCRIPTURE

John 13:1 NIV

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

John 13:3-5 NIV

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

John 13:12-17 NIV

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students identify what keeps them from serving and find ways that they can serve those around them

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Do you tend to think of the label “rebellious” as positive or negative? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think it means to serve others? Can you give some examples?
  3. Do the following things count as serving? Why or why not?
    1. Chores, like washing the dishes.
    1. Donating money to a cause.
    1. Returning your grocery cart.
  4. Who do you know that is an example of serving others? Do you think of them as rebellious? Why or why not?
  5. When and where was the last time you served? How was serving different than just doing what was expected of you or what you were told to do? 
  6. If you are currently serving, why did you start? How do you keep from checking out? What makes you stay committed?
  7. How do you think the disciples felt when Jesus served them by washing their feet? How does it make you feel to know that Jesus went against the norm in the ways he chose to serve? 
  8. Do you think it’s harder to serve people you don’t know well or people that you do? Why? 
  9. Who are some people in your immediate circle you could serve?

THINK ABOUT THIS

One of the best things about this generation is how passionate they are about justice and how they are wired for action. However, while they may be excited about changing the world, they may think being told to do chores is the end of the world. Help them connect serving and compassion not just to big acts for systemic change, but also small steps of love and selflessness for their neighbors, friends, and family.

TRY THIS

Brainstorm one small way you can serve someone this week. Set it as a reminder on your phone and check back in with your group.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY May 9th, 2021: mary’s anointing of jesus

Biblical Passage

John 12:1–8

Supporting Passages

Matthew 26:6–13Mark 14:3–9

Memory Verse

Proverbs 15:8

Biblical Truth

Christ honors your sacrifice when it comes from the heart and brings honor to Him.

Context

During the last week of His life, Jesus was in Bethany for a dinner in His honor. While there, Mary anointed His feet with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair. Judas criticized the woman’s wasteful action, which he said could have been used to help the poor. Jesus defended Mary and proclaimed that her sacrificial action was done in preparation for His burial.

Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that sacrificial giving to God is born out of the love for Him that is in our hearts.
  • Students will practice sacrificial giving in a personal way this week.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 05/05/2021:

Tomorrow night we have another great evening planned as we will be out on the field for rec night (weather permitting).  But we will start off in the gym for tacos in a bag. 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY May 2nd, 2021:he is the resurrection and the life

Biblical Passage

John 11:17-2741-45

Supporting Passage

John 11:1-46

Memory Verse

John 11:25

Biblical Truth

Jesus wants you to come to Him when you experience emotional pain.

Context

While in Perea on the east side of the Jordan River, Jesus received news of Lazarus’ illness. He set out for Judea even though some Jews in Jerusalem had earlier planned to stone Him. When He arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already died, but after comforting Lazarus’ sisters Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

Learning Goals

  • Students will understand both the power Jesus has over death and the compassion He has for our grief.
  • Students will apply their understanding of Jesus’ compassion in committing to turning to Him in times of grief.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 4/28/2021: Words

BOTTOM LINE

 Pay attention to the power of your words.

SCRIPTURE

James 3:3-4 NIV

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go” .

James 3:5- 6 NIV

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body…Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell (

James 3:6-10 NLT

And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.  People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right ()!

James 3:17 NIV

But wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness ().

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

 To help students understand recognize the power of their own words and choose their words carefully.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  What’s a word or phrase you use that you’re sure your small group leader doesn’t know?
  2. What are some words or phrases that people say or that you’ve heard that are toxic?
  3. What types of things are you most likely to say?
  4. Crude jokes?
  5. Something insensitive?
  6. Gossip?
  7. Encouragement?
  1. How have you felt when someone said something about you? How have you seen something you’ve said affect someone else?
  2. For upperclassmen: What has someone said that was negative about you and how did it affect you?
  3. Read James 3:6-10. James compares words to a fire, why do you think that is? Do you think he is exaggerating? Do you think that’s true?
  4. It may feel like it’s difficult to control out words. Why do you think we say the words that we know we shouldn’t say?
  5. What are some ways that we tend to justify the words we use? The jokes we tell? For example, “no offense” or “I was just telling the truth”
  6. What would change if we were to ask ourselves “what can I say instead?”

THINK ABOUT THIS

 As leaders, it can be tempting to focus on what a student should or should not do, but at this phase of development, high schoolers are beginning to ask a very important question: “Why?” As you talk about words, be sure to help them uncover specific examples of times that words have negatively affected them. In doing so, you’ll help them uncover specific examples of times that words have negatively affected them. In doing so, you’ll help them recognize WHY words matter and it will set you up to discuss how we can all use our words more carefully.

TRY THIS

 Leaders, this week, check in with your students and remind them of the list of words that build those relationships.

QUOTE

 “Good words are worth much, and cost little.” -George Herbert


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY April 25th, 2021: The parable of the vineyard workers

Biblical Passage

Matthew 20:1-16

Supporting Passage

Romans 3:1-31

Memory Verse

Romans 2:11

Biblical Truth

God shows the same love and grace to all who respond to His call, regardless of when they come to Him.

Context

Jesus told a parable comparing the Kingdom of God to a vineyard owner who hired laborers at different times of the day yet paid them all the same agreed upon amount, thus emphasizing the landowner’s grace and generosity.

Learning Goals

  • Students will understand that God gives grace to all His children according to His own measure.
  • Students will apply their understanding of God’s grace in evaluating their motives for serving God.

To view the Master Teacher Plan Click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 4/21/2021: It’s Personal

BOTTOM LINE

It’s personal because Jesus loves you no matter what.

SCRIPTURE

 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39 NLT).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

 To help students understand that Jesus loves them no matter what and they can offer a “no-matter-what” love to the world around them. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Tell a story about something you did that you knew you shouldn’t have done when you were a little kid. How did it turn out? (Note: Try to start this light!).
  2. Why do we try to keep secret something we shouldn’t have done? How do you hide it from others?
  3. What do you think others may think or do if they found out what you’re hiding?
  4. How would you feel if Jesus asked to come to your house? Your small group? Your team huddle? To sit by you at lunch?
  5. What does “no matter what” really mean? Why can that be difficult to believe?
  6. Which is easier to agree with: “God loves ME no matter what” or “God loves THEM no matter what”?
  7. Who in this story do you most identify with? Zacchaeus? The people in the crowd?
  8. When’s a time in your own life where you may have felt unloved? By your friends? By your family? By God?
  9. Say something like this: We talked about naming what we’ve gone through and confessing it to someone, but it’s important to share it with someone who you can feel safe with. What can we do to make this small group a safe place to confess, to each other, the things we have done?

THINK ABOUT THIS

 As teenagers’ brains are developing, they will absolutely, without doubt, 100% make poor choices. As their leaders, we can let failure surprise us or we can have a plan for what we will say or do when a student tells us something we hoped never to hear. This week develop a plan. As you do, remember that shame is both powerful and dangerous. Instead of adding to shame they already may feel, make your plan about communicating God’s grace and figuring out how they can get back in the game.

TRY THIS

 Be sure to observe the students in your small group that you may need to follow up with –  put a note in your phones as a reminder to follow up with them this week.

QUOTE

 “God’s love never wears out.” -Rick Warren


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY April 18th, 2021: The parable of lost things

Biblical Passage

Luke 15:11–32

Supporting Passage

Luke 15:1–10

Table Talk Question

Can a Christian Feel Lost?

Memory Verse

Luke 19:10

Biblical Truth

Jesus emphasized the extent to which God will go to seek the lost.

Context

Jesus continued to receive criticism from the Jewish leaders. One of the main charges the Jewish leaders held against Jesus was spending time with sinners. In response, Jesus told a parable about a rebellious son and a father’s forgiveness to stress God’s great love for those who move away from Him.

Learning Goals

  • Students will understand God’s compassion for those who are far from Him.
  • Students will determine ways to apply God’s compassion toward those who are dealing with sin.

To view the Master Teacher plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 4/14/2021: It’s Personal

BOTTOM LINE

It’s personal because Jesus knows what matters to you.

SCRIPTURE

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (Philippians 2:4 NLT). 

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students recognize that because Jesus loves us he cares about what we care about, and a part of loving others is caring about what matters to them.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Two truths and a lie. You would really know me if…?
  2. How can you tell when someone really “gets” you? Why do you think it’s easy for a high school student to think that no one really “gets” them?
  3. How many people in your life really “get” you?
  4. When it seems like no one “gets” you, it can be easy to feel _________.
  5. Why do you think it’s difficult to believe that Jesus cares about what matters to you?
  6. What are the things that you care about that you don’t think God cares about?
  7. Read Philippians 2:4. Who is someone you know who consistently takes the time to get to know others?
  8. If you decided to take an interest in what matters to someone else, what might you do or what questions might you ask them?
  9. How might daily-life be different if we knew what mattered to the people around us? If we really “got” someone else?

THINK ABOUT THIS

As leaders, it’s tempting to assume teenagers are exactly like we were at their age. After all, they still struggle with popularity, self-esteem, peer pressure and temptation. But a lot has changed. As the leader, it is your responsibility to become students of student culture—to learn and study what they like, what matters to them and how they perceive the world. This week, try asking about their interests, their passions, and their dislikes. What you discover may surprise you. It may not. But it will definitely help you become a more personal leader.

TRY THIS

Leaders, challenge your students to pick someone who matters to them and spend five minutes on what matters to them this week. Then encourage your students to bring it up to that person this week.

QUOTE

“What matters most is to focus on what matters most.” -Roy Bennett


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY April 11th, 2021: The parable of the wedding banquet

Biblical Passage

Matthew 22:1-14

Supporting Passages

Matthew 21:38-41Luke 14:16-24

Memory Verse

Matthew 22:9

Table Talk Question

Who can be a part of God’s Kingdom?

Biblical Truth

God invites all people, regardless of background, to join His Kingdom according to His conditions.

Context

In Matthew 22, Jesus spoke with the religious leaders. These religious leaders were probably the chief priests and Pharisees. Following His teaching condemning the religious leaders’ attitudes and actions (Mt. 21:28-46), Jesus told a parable comparing entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven to that of a wedding feast.

Learning Goals

  • Students will identify the conditions for becoming part of God’s Kingdom.
  • Students will consider ways to invite all types of people to be part of God’s Kingdom.

To view the Master Teacher plan click here:


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY April 4th, 2021: no lifegroups for easter sunday

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 3/31/2021: afterlife wk 2

BOTTOM LINE

 Because of the resurrection, John knew he was loved.

SCRIPTURE

 1 John 4:9-10

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

1 John 4:16a

16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP.  

To help students begin to reshape their view of God and personalize what Easter means for them.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  What is one thing you used to fear doing that you don’t anymore? How did you get over that fear?
  2. Have you ever had an opinion about someone that changed once you got to know them? Without saying names, what changed your opinion of them?
  3. What are some different ideas people have about who God is and what God is like?
  4. Why do you think there are so many different opinions of what God is like?
  5. Based on your experiences, what are some of the following words that describe God to you? (Feel free to pick your own words as well!)

Angry

Disappointed

Fun

Nice

Disinterested

Far Away

Old

Just

Demanding

Loving

Forgiving

Understanding

  1. What are some examples of experiences that shape the way you think God feels about you?
  2. Read 1 John 4:9-10. John knew he was loved. What do people do differently when they know and believe they are loved compared to when they don’t? What could change about someone’s life if they truly believed God loved them?
  3. How can we remind ourselves and others of the truth about how God feels about us?

 TRY THIS

 Sometimes it is easier to believe God loves you more than God likes you. Encourage your students to set a reminder on their phones that goes off three times a day that says something like: “God likes me.”

THINK ABOUT THIS

 Somewhere in the middle of the high school years (ahem, we see you tenth grade), students begin to question and rethink what they have always believed. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s necessary for developing an authentic personal faith. This week, encourage and celebrate any student who is wrestling with or questioning what they have always believed.

QUOTE

“God proved His love on the cross… that was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” -Billy Graham


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY MARCH 28th, 2021: the rich young ruler’s questions

Biblical Passage

Matthew 19:16-26S

Supporting Passages

Matthew 19:27-30Mark 10:17-31Luke 18:18-27

Memory Verse

Matthew 6:33

Biblical Truth

Nothing in life is more important or more valuable than following Christ.Context

After leaving Galilee, Jesus spoke to large crowds of people who asked Him many questions. In response to a rich man’s question about how to receive eternal life, Jesus explained the cost of following Him, which for this man would have required selling his possessions in order to trust in God alone. Instead of following Jesus, the man went away sad.

Learning Goals

  • Students will determine what is required to follow Christ.
  • Students will identify ways to give God everything.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 3/24/2021: afterlife

BOTTOM LINE

 Because of the resurrection, Mary knew she mattered.

SCRIPTURE

John 20:11-19 NIV

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP.  

 For students to see the resurrection as concrete proof that they matter and others matter. And help them translate that into actions.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  What is the most amazing news someone has ever told you?
  2. How does it feel to be the first person someone tells their amazingly good news to?
  3. How can you tell someone matters to someone else?
  4. Do you think most high schoolers feel like they matter to God?
  5. Read John 20:11-16 aloud. As your leader reads, imagine you’re Jesus’ friend, Mary. Write down words that describe what she might have been thinking/feeling at each moment. (Leader, let anyone who wants to share what they wrote, do so at this time.)
  6. Jesus chose Mary to be the first one He appeared to after the resurrection, trusting her with the news of Him coming back to life and to be the one to tell the other disciples. How do you think Mary felt to be trusted with this news?
  7. The way we treat others often influences how people think God feels about them. What’s one thing you can do this week to treat others like they matter to God?

 TRY THIS

 This week, send the following group texts:

Text 1: This week, the speaker asked some big questions. Which ones stand out to you and why?

  • Do you believe that you matter?
  • Do you treat yourself as if you matter?
  • Do you allow other people to treat you as if you don’t matter?

Text 2: This week, the speaker also asked the following questions. Which ones stand out to you and why?

  • Do you treat others as if they matter?
  • Are there people you treat as though they matter more?
  • Are there people you treat as if they don’t matter at all?

THINK ABOUT THIS

 When students think about “mattering” it may not be a mind-blowing statement in today’s culture. However, that doesn’t always translate into how they treat themselves and others. Help them think critically about whether their actions show that they value themselves and others. 

QUOTE

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” -St. Augustine


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY MARCH 21st, 2021: the parables of the mustard seed and yeast

Biblical Passage

Luke 13:18-21

Supporting Passage

Matthew 13:31-35

Memory Verse

Matthew 13:31-32

Table Talk Question

How does the Kingdom of God grow?

Biblical Truth

God’s Kingdom, from small beginnings, grows at an incredible rate and to an extraordinary size.

Context

Jesus continued to move among the people, teaching as He went. On one occasion, a woman approached Jesus on a and  begged Him to heal her. In response to the criticism of His actions by the synagogue ruler, Jesus replied using two parables, one of a mustard seed and one of yeast, to describe the exponential growth of God’s Kingdom.

Learning Goals

  • Students will describe the ways God’s Kingdom grows.
  • Students will identify ways they can personally work to expand God’s Kingdom.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 3/17/2021: VIBES

BOTTOM LINE

Because of Jesus, guilt doesn’t have to be the boss of you. 

SCRIPTURE

 Proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.

Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students recognize when guilt is controlling them and invite them to trust Jesus instead.  

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

 Note to the Small Group Leader: You will be using the feelings wheel again this week.  Take some time to explain what it is and how to use it. Simply start in the center, then move outwards. Then ask the question #1.

  1. Using the Feelings Wheel, ask: Which of these feelings do you seem to never feel?
  2. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever felt guilty for or apologized for?
  3. Use the emotions wheel. You may have noticed that guilt can show up in a few different places on the wheel. What is one area where guilt shows up most for you? Why?
  4. Read Proverbs 4:23. Do you think this is true, that everything you do flows from your heart?
  5. How do you know when someone is feeling guilty? Do they run? Do they shut down? Do they brush it off? What are you most likely to do when you feel guilty?
  6. If we were to believe that Jesus takes away our shame and guilt, how would that change how we live?
  7. For upperclassmen: Our past can remind us but does not define us. What can make it difficult for us to accept this statement? What could change in your life by accepting this statement?
  8. How can we, as a group, create a safe place for you to share without you feeling guilt or shame for the decisions you have or will make?

 TRY THIS

This week, be sure to observe how your students respond to this talk and discussion. Be sure to follow up with them and remind them that they don’t have to process guilt by themselves.

THINK ABOUT THIS

 As teenagers get older, their decisions and actions come with higher stakes than ever before. That’s why, as adults, it can be tempting to use guilt or shame as a tool to influence students to behave well. And while our intentions may be good, using guilt or shame as a tool can do significant harm, not only for the student we’re addressing but also to those watching. This week, if a student acknowledges a mistake, be careful to guard your facial expressions and vocal tone so that you are not demonstrating shock or disappointment. In doing so, you will communicate that your group is a safe place to process the pain of poor choices, and you will earn the right to be trusted in moments when a student is feeling guilty.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY MARCH 14TH, 2021: learning to pray

Biblical Passage

Matthew 6:9-13

Supporting Passage

Luke 11:1-4

Memory Verse

Matthew 6:9-13

Biblical Truth

The Lord’s model prayer is an example we can use when communicating with God.Context

One day, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. In response, Jesus gave them a model prayer to guide them in communicating with God.

Learning Goals

  • Students will identify the elements found in the Lord’s prayer.
  • Students will create a prayer based on the elements found in the Lord’s prayer.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 3/10/2021: VIBES

BOTTOM LINE

Because of Jesus, fear doesn’t have to be the boss of you.

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 10:16

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Matthew 8:24-27

24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Matthew 10:28-31

28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students recognize when fear is holding them back and invite them to trust Jesus and move forward with Him – whether or not they are afraid. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Note to the Small Group Leader: In order to use the feelings wheel take some time to explain what it is and how to use it. Simply start in the center, then move outwards. Then ask the question #1.
  2. Using the Feelings Wheel, ask: Which of these feelings do you have the hardest time dealing with in other people?
  3. What is something that scared you when you were a little kid that you aren’t scared of now?
  4. Would you say you have more fear for the future or most hope for the future?
  5. What are you most hopeful or excited about in the future? What scares you most about the future?
  6. Read Matthew 10:28-31. This passage points out that God is a personal God who is always with us. Does knowing that God is with you in every situation change the way you look at fear?
  7. Have you ever felt like you could go to God with your fear and anxiety? Why or why not?
  8. What is one thing in your life currently that scares you the most?
  9. How can this group help you cast your fears on to God and over your fear?

THINK ABOUT THIS

Developmentally, teenagers are more naturally wired for risk-taking behaviors. The part of their brain responsible for predicting consequences isn’t fully developed yet, so they may be more likely to try something new, drive too fast, sign up for challenging classes, experiment with drugs, or go on adventures. At the same time, with more expectations than ever, students are experiencing anxiety and fear about their future at alarming rates. In short, our teenagers are both fearless and fearful. That’s why, as leaders, we can be helpful by being available to talk through feelings of fear and help teenagers develop the skill of discerning the difference between fear that holds them back and fear based in wisdom that protects them. 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY March 7TH, 2021: The parable of the good samaritan

Biblical Passage

Luke 10:25–37

Supporting Passage

Leviticus 19:18-19,33-34

Memory Verse

Luke 10:27

Table Talk Question

Should Christians always be kind?

Biblical Truth

God calls believers to treat others with compassion, respect, and concern.Context

Jesus continued His teachings about how to treat others when He encountered a Jewish leader. The leader attempted to test Jesus’ interpretation of the Law. As a part of His response, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to emphasize that people should have compassion and concern for others, regardless of background or ethnicity.

Learning Goals

  • Learners will identify Jesus’ requirements for the way we treat others.
  • Learners will examine their relational habits against that of Christ’s expectations of loving others as one’s self.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 3/03/2021: VIBES

BOTTOM LINE

Because of Jesus, anger doesn’t have to be the boss of you.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students see how anger can be good, but it can also become a controlling and harmful force and invite them to take their anger to Jesus and ask for Him to lead them. 

SCRIPTURE

James 3:13-14

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

James 3:16

16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

James 4:1-2

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

Philippians 2:6-7

 Who, being in very nature[a] God,  did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Think about a scene from a TV show or movie where a character was angry (Squidward from SpongeBob, for example) What kind of anger were they feeling? Why do you think they got that angry?

Note: In order to use the feelings wheel take some time to explain what it is and how to use it. Simply start in the center, then move outwards. Then ask the question #2.

  1. Using the Feelings Wheel, ask: Which of these feelings is hard for you to admit you feel?
  2. Look at the anger section of the emotions wheel. Choose one of the words that you most associate with anger (Note: Try to start with “humiliated”). For that word, what do you do when you feel that emotion?
  3. Can you share a time where you’ve seen hallway or road age?
  4. Read James 4:1. How would you answer this question? How would most high schoolers answer this question?
  5. What percentage of your anger is caused by not getting your way?
  6. Have you experienced people around you blaming their anger on others instead of owning their own emotions? Why do you think it can be easier to believe that anger is caused by something or someone else rather than something inside us?
  7. If someone were watching you, what would be some clues or cues that you are angry? What could they do to help you?
  8. Jesus does not want you to be controlled by your anger. What are practical ways you can go to Jesus with your anger? How can this group help you control your anger?

TRY THIS

Encourage your students to be proactive in their anger. Say something like this: The next time you are angry, text someone and have them ask you “what kind of angry are you?” and help you work through that anger and control it.

THINK ABOUT THIS

At this phase, students experience strong emotions but aren’t always aware that they still have control of their actions, even when emotions are running high. You may hear them use phrases like, “I can’t help it. They made me so mad,” or “That’s just what I do when I’m mad. It is what it is.”  As a leader, it can be helpful to teach them the skill of looking for what they can control when their emotions feel out of control. For example, they may feel enraged, but they can control their words, whether they stay in the room, choosing to pray, their breathing, or going for a walk.

As the leader, be careful to not make assumptions about what a student does or does not feel based on gender, background, culture or family or how they have been taught to express those emotions. Many factors can lead a teenager to mask or hide feelings rather than process. Give each student the space to talk openly and discover how emotions may affect them. Pro Tip: familiarize yourself with the emotions wheel prior to this week’s meeting. You’ll use this wheel to help students identify emotions for the next few weeks.

QUOTE

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” -Mark Twain


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY: FEBRUARY 28TH, 2021

Biblical Passage

Matthew 18:21-35

Supporting Passage

Matthew 18:21-35

Memory Verse

1 John 1:9

Biblical Truth

We are called to forgive others because, in Jesus, God has first forgiven us.Context

After Jesus’ teaching about who was the greatest, Matthew recorded Jesus’ teachings about the way to treat others. Within these teachings, Matthew alone recorded Jesus’ teachings about how often to forgive someone. Jesus’ response went far beyond the forgiveness requirements of the Jewish rabbis

.Learning Goals

  • Learners will analyze God’s forgiveness.
  • Learners will determine how to apply God’s desire for forgiveness in their lives.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 2/24/2021: Vibes

BOTTOM LINE

Because of Jesus, emotions don’t have to be the boss of you.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

          To help students see that while emotions can be overwhelming, Jesus can help us keep them in check.

SCRIPTURE

Mark 7:5-8

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[
a]

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

Mark 7:21a

 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Note to the Small Group Leader: You will be provided with a graphic called the “Feelings Wheel”.  In order to use the feelings wheel take some time to explain what it is and how to use it. Simply start in the center, then move outwards. Then ask the question #1.

  1. Using the Feelings Wheel, ask: Which of these emotions (in the center) did you feel this week? Which ones (in the outer circles) best describe the emotion you felt?
  2. What is something that most people believe about emotions and how they should be expressed by:
  3. Guys
  4. Girls
  5. Older people
  6. Younger people
  1. Have you ever seen someone older than you controlled by their emotions? On TV? At school? Online? At home?
  2. Do you usually share the emotions you are feeling, or do you hide them from other people?
  3. Read Matthew 11:28 (Note: Try reading it first in the NIV version, then reread it in the Message version). Do you feel that what Jesus is saying is even possible?
  4. How do you take your emotions to Jesus? What does that look like practically?
  5. How would your life look different if you were confident that the emotions, moods, and vibes you feel no longer controlled how you treated yourself and others around you?
  6. What are some words that you can use to tell someone how you feel? What are some words that you can use to tell God how you feel?

TRY THIS

Have your students take a picture of the emotions wheel and this week, check in with them to ask where they are with their emotions.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, as teenagers our students are experiencing new, stronger, and more complex emotions but they may not have the vocabulary to name what they’re feeling beyond preschool vocabulary like happy, sad, mad. Teaching the vocabulary to name emotion will be the first step to discovering how to manage them.

As the leader, be careful to not make assumptions about what a student does or does not feel based on gender, background, culture or family or how they have been taught to express those emotions. Many factors can lead a teenager to mask or hide feelings rather than process. Give each student the space to talk openly and discover how emotions may affect them. Pro Tip: familiarize yourself with the emotions wheel prior to this week’s meeting. You’ll use this wheel to help students identify emotions for the next few weeks.

QUOTE

“Whatever you do, you should do it with feeling.” -Yogi Berra


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY: February 7th, 2021

Biblical Passage

Matthew 17:22-2320:17-19

Supporting Passage

Luke 9:44-45

Memory Verse

1 John 2:2

Biblical Truth

Jesus came to earth to secure our salvation through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.Context

On several occasions Jesus explained His purpose to His disciples and even predicted His death three different times to His disciples. The first prediction is recorded in three gospels: Matthew 16:21–23Mark 8:31–33, and Luke 9:21–22. In this lesson, the second and third of these predictions are examined. The second prediction came just after Jesus’ transfiguration. Luke noted that the disciples did not understand what Jesus told them.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ prediction of His death and resurrection.
  • Students will consider ways to verbalize their response to Christ’s death.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 2/3/2021: Explained wk 2

BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to the Bible, we read it because God is in it.

SCRIPTURE

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand how and why the Bible is useful and applicable in their lives.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Who are the content creators you follow? Why do you follow them?
  2. Why do we care about the people who create the content we watch? Why do you think they are the ones you follow?
  3. How does knowing what God is like, as a Creator behind the content of the Bible, affect how you read the Bible?
  4. What are the reasons we turn (or think we should turn) to the Bible? What are the reasons we don’t read the Bible?
  5. Paul tells us Scripture is God-breathed, and Genesis tells us God breathed into Adam and gave him life. Where God breathes, life follows. How have you seen life, in some way, come from Scripture?
  6. How would reading the Bible make you feel closer to God?
  7. Read 2 Timothy 3:16. What are some of the ways the Bible is helpful in your life?
  8. In what ways have you experienced, firsthand or in other people’s lives, ways the Bible has been helpful?
  9. There are some things that you won’t understand until you’ve tried it (a new TV show, the latest Starbucks drink, that new Tiktok dance challenge). Sometimes the Bible is like that. It’s hard to see it’s helpful until you try it. So, let’s try this together. (Note to the SGL: End your small group time by doing the TRY THIS in your group.)

THINK ABOUT THIS

At this phase some teenagers have a variety of experiences and varying levels of interest in Scripture. Some may enjoy Scripture. Some may have tried it and not found any value at all, and some may have never read a single verse. Do not get discouraged if students aren’t exactly excited about reading anything including the Bible. And remember, as leaders, our goal isn’t to pour guilt on a teenager who isn’t particularly interested or experienced, but to encourage a healthy curiosity when it comes to the Bible and to celebrate any small step a teenager makes to connect to God in a personal way.

TRY THIS

This week, encourage your students to read Psalm 139 on their own. At different points of the week follow up with your students asking the following questions.

  1. What was a word or phrase that stood out to you from the passage?
  2. Why might that word or phrase be important to you right now?
  3. What could God be inviting you to based on that word or phrase?

QUOTE

“The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him [God].” -C.S. Lewis


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY: *no on campus meetings*

December 27th, 2020- seek first his kingdom

Biblical Passage

Matthew 6:19-34

Supporting Passage

Matthew 6:1-7:29

Memory Verse

Matthew 6:25

Biblical Truth

By maintaining a right attitude toward treasures and by trusting God in every situation you face, you can experience the most abundant life.Context

As Jesus continued to teach the people gathered on the shores of the Sea of Galilee during His Sermon on the Mount, He provided a proper view of treasures, explained how to overcome worry, and most importantly, encouraged hearers to shift their focus so that they were striving solely for the things of God.Learning Goals

  • Students will explore Jesus’ teaching about worrying.
  • Students will identify how Jesus’ words can help them overcome worry.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

December 20th, 2020- Obedience Paves the way

Biblical Passage

Matthew 1:18-25

Supporting Passages

John 1:1-14

Memory Verse

Matthew 1:21

Biblical Truth

Joseph faithfully obeyed the Lord’s leading, paving the way for Jesus’ birth.Context

Joseph was a committed fiancée. His lineage was full of both sinners and saints. And, his lineage was evidence that a baby named Jesus had been the plan all along. Matthew 1:1–16 represents thousands of verses worth of stories about those whose lives were redirected onto the restorative purposes of a loving God long before He would come alive among them through an infant. The setup done, God, the Heavenly Father and Joseph, the earthly dad would witness the birth of a Messiah, and a son. A long-awaited coming had now come.Learning Goals

  • Your students will examine Joseph’s faithfulness and obedience leading up to the birth of Christ.
  • Your students will understand how their own faithfulness and obedience to God paves the way for them to be used by Him in this world.

To view the Master Teacher Guide Click Here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES: Resume Jan 2021

MZS Christmas Party Friday December 18th @ 7pm


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

December 13th, 2020- being salt and light

Biblical Passage

Matthew 5:13-1643-48

Supporting Passage

John 13: 34-35

Memory Verse

Matthew 5:16

Biblical Truth

Jesus gave His followers high standards to live by.Context

This lesson is the first of two studies on Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught with authority about the Scriptures, and revealed that He had authority to interpret them and the same authority as them. This lesson addresses two teachings in Matthew 5: how to have an influence on others and how to love our enemies. The next lesson will address more of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, as He told His disciples to seek God’s Kingdom.

Learning Goals

  • Students will identify how Jesus expects His followers to interact with the world.
  • Students will evaluate their lives according to Jesus’ standards.

To view the Master Teacher Lesson Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 12/09/2020: ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS SERIES, Wk 2

BOTTOM LINE

At Christmas we tend to focus on what we want but Christmas is really about what we need

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that Christmas is really about what we need.

SCRIPTURE-

Isaiah 9:1-5

“…there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.”

“…people walking in darkness have seen a great light”

“…they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.”

 “ …you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.“

“…Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire .“

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Colossians 1:13-14

 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How many people have asked you what you want for Christmas? 
  2. What are some gifts you really want this year for Christmas?
  3. How many people are you expecting gifts from?  Do you tell them what you want or what you need? 
  4. Why is it easier to ask for what you want than what you need?
  5. What are some things we need that Jesus fulfills?
  6. How would you describe peace? Hope? Joy?
  7. During 2020 what is the significance of peace, hope, and joy?
  8. Along with giving gifts how can you give peace hope and joy to those around you this Christmas? What about after Christmas and during the rest of the year?

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—it’s really easy during this season to dwell on what we want to see under the tree on Christmas morning. But the gift of Jesus was God’s way of fulfilling the need we have for Hope, Joy, peace and a relationship with Him.

TRY this

Leaders—Lead students to discuss some ways that Jesus is hope joy and peace and how they can share those with others.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

December 6th, 2020- his power over nature

Biblical Passage

Mark 4:35-41

Supporting Passages

Matthew 8:23-27Luke 8:22-25

Memory Verse

Philippians 4:6-7

Biblical Truth

Because of Jesus’ authority, He has power to see you through any difficult situation.Context

In a boat, Jesus and His disciples crossed to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus fell asleep in the boat. A terrible storm began which terrorized the disciples. In fear, they awoke Jesus who revealed His power over nature for the first time by calming the storm.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine Jesus’ power over nature.
  • Students will verbalize how Christ wants them to respond to fearful situations.

To view the Master Teacher lesson plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 12/02/2020: all i want for christmas series

BOTTOM LINE

 God sending Jesus is the ultimate example of God’s love for us.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students remember that God loves us and gave us Jesus before we ever did anything to deserve it, and how we can extend that same generosity toward others.

SCRIPTURE

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2 NIV).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV).

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders,  it’s natural for teenagers to approach their relationships with a transactional mindset. If someone does something for them, then they do something of equal value back. God approaches relationships differently: He loves, and therefore gives generously, regardless of what we do for Him. This is the way we ought to be approaching our relationships, but when we encourage our students in this direction, it can sometimes sound like we’re encouraging them to be a doormat for people to walk all over. This week, be sensitive to this tension as you help your group see that being generous doesn’t mean being a doormat to those who may try to hurt them.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given? What’s the worst gift you’ve ever been given?
  2. What’s the worst gift you’ve ever given? What made it a bad gift?
  3. What are the relationships where you sometimes feel like you have to “keep score”?
  4. What does it look like to be generous in a relationship and not keep score?
  5. Why is it sometimes hard to remember that God isn’t keeping score with you?
  6. John refers to Jesus as the Word—the best representation of what God is like. Based on what we know about Jesus, what is God like?
  7. What tends to keep us from being generous with others?
  8. What does loving people generously look like in your world?

TRY THIS

Leaders—as a group, brainstorm simple ways you all—as individuals—can be generous toward others this week. Come up with a list of 5-10 ideas and text them out in a group text as a reminder to show generosity toward the people around you this week. 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

November 29th, 2020- he is living water:

Biblical Passage

John 4:4-26

Supporting Passage

John 4:1-42

Memory Verse

John 7:38

Biblical Truth

Through His Son Jesus, God offers grace to all people, even those some might consider as unworthy and unacceptable.Context

The Samaritans had a long history of conflict with the Jews. Although the Jews avoided the region, Jesus traveled through Samaria and met a woman there. To her, Jesus revealed for the first time that His salvation included the Gentiles.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine Jesus’ offer of eternal life to the Gentiles.
  • Students will evaluate their own willingness to share their faith in Jesus with those outside their faith.

To view the Master Teacher Plan click here:


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

November 22nd, 2020- Nicodemus’ question:

Biblical Passage

John 3:1-21

Supporting Passage

Mark 8:13-19

Memory Verse

John 3:16

Biblical Truth

Eternal life comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.Context

After performing His first miracle at the wedding, Jesus met a Jewish leader named Nicodemus. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, seeking answers about the Kingdom of God. In His time with Nicodemus, Jesus proclaimed for the first time the necessity of being born again through faith in order to experience eternal life.Learning Goals

  • Students will identify what is necessary to have eternal life.
  • Students will identify what the guarantee of eternal life can mean to their daily lives.

To view the Master Teacher Lesson Plan click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 11/18/2020:

MZS Campfire Night on the ballfield.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

November 15th, 2020- HIS FIRST MIRACLE:

Biblical Passage

John 2:1-11

Supporting Passage

Matthew 23:25-26Mark 7:6-238:13-19

Memory Verse

Philippians 4:19

Biblical Truth

Jesus’ miracles revealed His divine authority and glory.Context

After calling His disciples, Jesus attended a wedding in Cana. The wedding guests included Jesus’ mother, other family and friends, and His disciples. While at the wedding, Jesus performed the first recorded miracle and revealed Himself for the first time as the Messiah. Though John includes fewer miraculous signs than the other Gospels, he did include several of Jesus’ miracles. Changing water into wine is the first of seven miracles described in John 1–11.

Learning Goals

  • Students will examine how Jesus’ miracles demonstrated His power and authority as the Messiah.
  • Students will identify ways to trust God to meet their needs in life.

Read the Master Teacher Guide here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 11/11/2020: LOVE/HATE WEEK 2

BOTTOM LINE

 Let love be your filter.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand the difference between calling someone out and lovingly confronting a hurtful behavior.

SCRIPTURE

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2 NLT).

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, it can be tricky for students to know how to talk with a friend about their unhealthy behavior. Sometimes the only reference point a student has for difficult conversations is what they have seen among family members. As leaders, it’s our job to model and discuss what helpful, loving, and honest communication looks like. Sometimes that means confronting a student privately or coaching them as they prepare to talk with a friend.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s your favorite Instagram or Snapchat filter? 
  2. What are the different filters that you use for different people or situations?
  3. What are some situations where it may be difficult for a high schooler to get involved or speak up when we know we should say something? Examples: Gossiping about others, lying, etc.
  4. How can you tell the difference between being judgmental and being helpful? Leader note: Try referring back to the previous examples.
  5. Why is it important to have a relationship with someone in order to get involved or speak up?
  6. Read Galatians 6:1-2. What does it look like to carry someone else’s burden? Have you ever had someone do that for you? Have you ever done that for someone else? 
  7. Do you know anyone who does a great job of filtering his or her involvement, words, and actions through love? If so, what stands out about this person? How would you describe their effect? 

TRY THIS

Have your small group come up with a set of ground rules they can begin to use to help them speak the truth in love to one another. Use the following questions to help your students create the rules:


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

November 8th, 2020- He called his disciples:

Biblical Passage

Matthew 4:18-229:9-13

Supporting Passage

Matthew 4:18-229:9-13Luke 5:1-119:1-6

Memory Verse

Matthew 4:19

Biblical Truth

Jesus calls you to follow Him because He wants to use you to reach other people.

Context

In this lesson and the seven that follow, students will consider how Jesus revealed Himself to His followers. During Jesus’ time in the desert, He spent focused time praying and fasting. After His temptation, Jesus returned to His home region of Galilee and began His public ministry. During this time, Jesus used the words, “Come, follow me,” for the first time as He called the twelve disciples. The call of the disciples comes very early in the Gospel of Matthew. This suggests that Jesus wanted the disciples to be a part of His ministry from the very beginning.

Learning Goals

  • Students will consider how Jesus calls those who would follow Him.
  • Students will determine ways to follow Christ’s call in their daily lives.

To view the Master Teacher Guide click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 11/4/2020: love/hate week 1

BOTTOM LINE

 Let love be what you’re all about

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

 To help students understand that avoiding gossip is less about correcting a bad habit and more about curating a reputation for love and not hate.

SCRIPTURE

 “It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” (Mark 7:15 NLT).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, in this phase teenagers are starting to understand what gossip is but may not be able to point it out in the moment. Small Group should be the safest place for conversation and connection to happen. As a Small Group Leader, it’s our job to model respectful and life-giving conversation. Which means protecting the group from gossip and harmful joking. Even if it seems like no one is offended. While gossip and joking can be the quickest road to connection, it can erode relationships over time.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  Name a character on a TV show or movie that is known for hating on others. Would you want that person in your group of friends? Why or why not?
  2. When does gossip, or hating on others, feel like a big deal? When does it not?
  3. Talk about a time when you participated in gossip and you regretted it. How did it affect your friendship with the person you gossiped about?
  4. Read Ephesians 4:29. How would you define unwholesome or rotten talk? 
  5. How would your relationships change if you asked yourself the question “Is this helpful?” before you speak?
  6. What kind of person do you want to be known for in your friend group? What is one thing you can do to become that person? 
  7. What would we want our Small Group to be known for?
  8. Imagine we were the kind of Small Group that gossips about each other. What would our Small Group look like by the end of the year? Now imagine we were the kind of Small Group that never gossips about each other. What would our Small Group look like by the end of the year?

TRY THIS

Leaders, start by saying something like this: “We know this may be easier to talk about than to do. Most of us will be tempted to gossip about someone even before we get home today.” Then challenge your students to go a whole week without gossiping and encourage them throughout this week by sending them the verse.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

November 1st, 2020- His victory over temptation:

Biblical Passage

Luke 4:1-13

Supporting Passage

Matthew 4:1-11Mark 1:12-13

Memory Verse

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Table Talk Question

Did Jesus experience every possible temptation?

Biblical Truth

Jesus overcame temptation by responding appropriately with the Word of God.Context

Jesus’ temptation is included in Matthew, Mark and Luke. His temptations are reminiscent of Israel’s wilderness journey (Dt. 6–8). Like Jesus, the Hebrew people experienced many tests. Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness paralleled Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Once Jesus overcame these temptations, He began His ministry to the people of Israel.

Learning Goals

  • Students will explore the methods Satan used to tempt Jesus.
  • Students will consider how they can use the steps Jesus took to overcome temptation.

To view the Master Teacher Guide click here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 10/28/2020: THE YOU EFFECT WK 3

BOTTOM LINE

Because of Jesus, we can change the effect we have on others.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that they have the ability to change the effect they have others and regain influence over time.

SCRIPTURE

Luke 7:36-39

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat.[a] 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”

Luke 7:44-48

44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, at this stage, students’ brains are still developing the ability to imagine and predict future outcomes. Not only can this lead to risky decisions, but it also means they have a difficult time seeing past their current circumstances. In other words, when they have messed up or lost trust, it can be difficult for them to imagine life ever being any different than this current moment. That’s why, as their leaders, we should be intentional about offering hope for a better future and reminding them that we believe they can change

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. If you could give a Who are some famous people who have lost influence because of something they have done? 
  2. Who are some people you have seen regain influence? How did they do it?
  3. How can regaining influence be difficult in high school?
  4. From the following areas, where do you think you have the most influence? The least influence? Put the following areas in order of how much influence you have:
    1. School
    2. Friends
    3. Family
    4. Church
    5. Sports/clubs
  5. When have you felt like you’ve lost influence because of a decision you’ve made?
  6. How can you regain influence with others? Who is someone you trust who can help you regain influence? How can this Small Group, or someone you trust, help keep you from losing influence in the future?
  7. Think of one person you have lost influence with, what is one step you can take this week toward changing the effect you have on them?

TRY THIS

On a 3×5 index card (located in your Teacher Boxes in your classroom), challenge your students to write down the name of someone that they may have lost influence with and on the back write one action step they can do this week to regain their influence. Follow up to support them.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

OCTOBER 25TH, 2020- His Baptism:

Biblical Passages

Matthew 3:13–17John 1:29–34

Supporting Passages

Mark 1:9–11Luke 3:21–22

Memory Verse

Acts 2:41

Table Talk Question

What is the purpose of baptism?

Biblical Truth

In obedience to God and His calling, Jesus submitted to baptism, even though He was without sin.

Context

The account of Jesus’ baptism is recorded near the beginning of all four Gospels. Jesus’ baptism was an appropriate beginning to His ministry. His entire ministry pointed to His fulfillment as the Messiah. His baptism, and God’s response, emphasized that Jesus was God’s Son even before He began His ministry. All four Gospels record how John was used by God to proclaim the coming of the Messiah prior to Jesus’ baptism.Learning Goals

  • Students will consider why Jesus chose to be baptized.
  • Students will identify why it is important for believers to be baptized.

View the entire lesson here:

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 10/21/2020: THE YOU EFFECT WK 2

BOTTOM LINE

Having a big effect starts with a small group.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that their individual impact on the world can be multiplied in a small group as they learn to live together and serve together as Jesus followers.

SCRIPTURE- Acts 2:37-47

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Like all of us students often need to experience something before they believe it has benefits. That’s why one of the most important things we can do for their faith at this phase is mobilize their potential. Help them find ways to serve, put others first, and test-drive what they know about faith. As you lead this week’s conversation, use the questions to help them imagine what might be possible if they began to serve, give or use their influence collectively to benefit someone else.   

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. If you could give a million dollars or a million hours to serve one charity or cause, what would it be?
  2. What do you think holds most high schoolers back from getting involved in causes like those?
  3. Have you ever stepped back from an opportunity to serve or lead or get involved because you felt like you wouldn’t have much of an effect? What reasons lead you to that decision?
  4. In Acts 2:37-47, the author, Luke, tells us how the earliest Jesus followers ate together, shared everything, and provided for each other’s needs. And, the early church grew very quickly. Why do you think those actions had such an impact?
  5. How is the early church’s relationship (see question #4) similar or different to the way Christians interact act your school? How do you think this impacts the way high schoolers see Jesus?
  6. What would it look like for our group to “stand out” in the way we treat each other while we’re here and outside of group?
  7. What is one area where we could decide to have a collective impact? (Leader, be prepared to make a few suggestions of where your group could serve together or ways they can impact their school together).
  8. What might hold us back from doing that? How can we overcome this?

TRY THIS

This week, follow up with your group about the area your Small Group said they could impact. As a group, decide on the next step that they could take to impact them. 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

OCTOBER 18TH, 2020- JOHN THE BAPTIST’S MESSAGE:

Biblical Passage

Matthew 3:1–12

Supporting Passages

Mark 1:1–8Luke 3:1–20

Memory Verse

Matthew 11:11

Biblical Truth

The prophet John the Baptist, a contemporary of Jesus, prepared people for Jesus’ ministry by calling them to repentance and pointing them toward Jesus the Messiah.Context

This lesson provides the background for Jesus’ early ministry by considering the ministry of His relative, John the Baptist. Although John was only a few months older than Jesus, he announced Messiah’s coming and demanded repentance—life-changing transformation—from those who would be ready for Christ’s harvest of followers. John baptized those who confessed and repented with the baptism of repentance. Learning Goals

  • Students will examine the importance of John’s prophetic ministry and his message of repentance.
  • Students will determine their need to model before the world a life that is marked with repentance.

To view the teaching guide click here: Lesson-6-John-the-Baptists-Message

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 10/14/2020: The you Effect Wk 1

BOTTOM LINE

You have more influence than you think.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that they have more of an effect than they think.

SCRIPTURE

John 6:1-14, NIV

After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, as teenagers, students may not understand the difference between influence and popularity. Not everyone is popular, but everyone has influence. Be intentional to point out the less noticed students and how they have influence over their friends, siblings, or younger people they serve.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What do you think of when you hear the word “influence”?
  2. How do you know when you are being influenced by someone else? 
  3. Who are the people around you that have influenced you? Who are the people that you have an effect on?
  4. Does it excite you or intimidate you to think about having influence in the lives of others? Why?
  5. Read John 6:1-14, who do you identify with most? 
    1. The boy
    2. The disciples
    3. The crowd
  6. What are some reasons we may think that we do not have the ability to affect the lives of others? 
  7. Which step is the most difficult for you when it comes to having an effect on others (identifying who needs help, identifying what they need, and identifying what you can do)?

TRY THIS

Challenge your students to point out one quality in each person that can be used to positively affect others.


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

OCTOBER 11TH, 2020- HIS ADOLESCENCE

Biblical Passage

Luke 2:41-52Supporting Passages

Ephesians 6:1-3Memory Verse

Luke 2:52Biblical Truth

Although fully God and fully man, Jesus’ identity as the Son of God determined His purpose and actions in His life.Context

The previous lesson studied Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby. He became God’s presence in the world for the purpose of redemption. This lesson continues looking at Jesus’ purpose as expressed through His childhood. Jesus clearly revealed that His identity as the Son of God took precedence over any earthly attachments. Even as a boy, Jesus showed that His purpose was to do God’s will. Learning Goals

  • Students will evaluate how Jesus honored His family while still fulfilling God’s purpose for His life.
  • Students will evaluate how they develop godly priorities in their own lives.

To view the entire lesson click here: Lesson-5-His-Adolescence

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 10/7/2020: 

REC Night on the MZ Baseball field. See you for games and snacks. 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

OCTOBER 4TH, 2020- HE IS THE GIFT

Biblical Passage

Luke 2:1-20Supporting Passages

Matthew 1:1-17Luke 3:23-38John 1:1-18Memory Verse

Luke 2:11Biblical Truth

Jesus’ coming was a gracious gift that expressed God’s love for humanity.Context

In the first few lessons of this series, students have learned about the prophecies and the announcement of the coming Christ. In this week’s lesson, students will read about the actual birth of Christ. God Himself came to Earth as an infant to show His incredible love for people. The world has not been the same since this life-changing event.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine the circumstances of Jesus’ birth and His saving mission for all people.
  • Students will reflect on one aspect of God’s gracious gift of love in Jesus’ birth.

Here is the full lesson plan: Lesson-4-He-Is-the-Gift

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 09/30/2020: DOUBT IT (WK 4)

Bottom Line

God gives us a support system of godly people to help us with our questions.

Scripture

EXODUS 18:5-24

5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God.

They greeted each other and then went into the tent. 8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.

9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.

13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”  17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.

19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice,  …select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”  24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that Godly people can help us with our doubts.

Discussion Questions

  • What stood out to you most from the story of Moses and Jethro?
  • What are some situations where someone might feel confused about what to do and where God is leading them?
  • Have you ever felt unsure about a decision you needed to make or a path you wanted to take? Tell us about it.
  • In the past, when you’ve felt unsure about what to do next, how did you decide what to do? What was the result?
  • Read Hebrews 10:24-25. How can we put this passage into practice during times of doubt or confusion?
  • In the following categories who is your “Phone a Friend”, or “Go to” person when you have doubts and who can you be that person for?                                         Encourager                         Coach                                    Pastor                           Prayer Warrior

                Counselor                           Mentor                                Confidante

  • Which of the following things are you pretty good at? Which do you need to work on?

Surrounding yourself with godly people

Being a godly influence in someone else’s life

Both

  • What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions? What about others’ doubts or questions?
  • What are your biggest takeaways from this series?

SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

SEPTEMBER 27TH, 2020- MARY’S REACTION OF PRAISE

Biblical Passage

Luke 1:39-56Supporting Passages

Luke 1:26-38Memory Verse

Luke 1:49Biblical Truth

Mary reacted with praise to God because she knew His character.Context

This study continues to introduce learners to the miraculous preparation for the coming of Christ. Mary reacted in obedient faith as she was told she would give birth to Jesus. She expressed a hymn of praise to God and stressed her confidence in what He would do through the Son she would bear. Mary’s reaction will help students understand how miraculous the birth of Jesus is to humanity.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine why Mary glorified God.
  • Students will identify personal reasons to praise God.

To view the entire lesson click here: Lesson-3-Marys-Reaction-of-Praise

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 09/23/2020: DOUBT IT (WK 3)

Bottom Line

Our questions don’t always get answered, but even when we don’t have every answer to every question, we can still have faith in our Redeemer

Scripture

Romans 8:28;

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose

Job1:1-3

1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

Job 1:9

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Job 2:7-10

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[e] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Job 3:1-4

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:

3 “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’

4 That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it may no light shine on it.

Job 42:1-4

Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand their faith and maintain it even when our questions don’t get answered.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you most from the story of Job?
  2. What are some reasons people might ask God, “Why is this happening?”
  3. Do you identify with Job? Why or why not?
  4. How can we move forward in our faith after experiencing tragedy that causes us to question God?
  5. Read Hebrews 11:13-16. What could this passage teach us about holding onto our faith even when our questions don’t get answered?
  6. Have you ever seen God redeem a difficult or painful situation in your life? Are there any difficult or painful situations in your life that you still need God to redeem?
  7. What are some things we shouldn’t say to someone who’s suffering?
  8. What are some ways we can comfort someone when they’re suffering?
  9. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions?
  10. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see others’ doubts or questions?

SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

SEPTEMBER 20TH, 2020- HIS ARRIVAL FORETOLD

Biblical Passage

Isaiah 9:1-7Supporting Passages

Genesis 3:15Micah 5:2Isaiah 49:1-653:1-1255:5Memory Verse

Isaiah 9:6Biblical Truth

God’s prophets spoke of the Messiah’s coming for centuries before His birth.Context

This lesson continues to introduce Jesus and allows students to see a glimpse of the promise of Christ in the Old Testament. Students will discover that Jesus fulfilled the words of many prophets. Believers can take delight in knowing that since Creation God had been preparing the world for the birth of Jesus Christ.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine how Jesus’ birth fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the Savior made centuries before His birth.
  • Students will verbalize why they can have confidence that Christ’s identity as the Savior is true.

To view the whole Lesson Click here: Lesson-2-His-Arrival-Foretold

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 09/16/2020: DOUBT IT (WK 2)

Bottom Line

Its ok to have doubts about God but we should overcome our doubts through prayer and knowing God through Scripture.

Scripture

John 20:24-29

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Romans 10:17

17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Mark 9:24

 “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

James 4:7-10

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that its ok to doubt and question God.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you most from today’s conversation?
  2. Do you identify with Gideon and Thomas? Why or why not?
  3. When Gideon and Thomas asked for evidence, how did they display . . .Humility?  Boldness?  Faith? Hope?
  4. Read James 4:1-10. What could this passage teach us about the attitude we should have when approaching God with our questions?
  5. Have you ever felt unable to fully believe in Jesus, even though you tried? Share that story, if you feel comfortable.
  6. Have you ever asked God for evidence to help you believe or understand God’s directions? If so, how did that go?
  7. If we ask God for a specific sign or piece of evidence, does God always give it to us? Why or why not?
  8. What are some ways we could use our words and actions to either comfort, or provide evidence to, people who don’t believe in Jesus?
  9. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions?
  10. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see others’ doubts or questions?

SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2020- HIS IDENTITY IN SCRIPTURE

Biblical Passage

John 1:1–51:145:31–47Supporting Passages

Colossians 1:13–23Philippians 2:5–11Memory Verse

John 1:4Biblical Truth

Jesus Christ, who offers eternal life to all people, is the central figure of the Bible.Context

In this lesson and the three that follow, students will be introduced to Jesus through prophecy and through His birth. Christ was with God from the beginning of time. When we study Scripture with this in mind, we begin to see that Christ’s work is present in the entire Bible, not just the Gospels.Learning Goals

  • Students will examine how Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments point to Jesus as the Messiah.
  • Students will begin to value Jesus as the Messiah who came to save them from their sins and give them eternal life.

To view the complete lesson plan click here: His-Identity-in-Scripture

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 09/09/2020: DOUBT IT (WK 1)

Bottom Line

You’re not alone in your questions.

Scripture

Psalm 22:2-3

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,  by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;  you are the one Israel praises.

Psalm 88:3-4

I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.

I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength.

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that they aren’t the only ones to experience doubt when it comes to faith.

Discussion Questions

  1. Would you say you’re usually more trusting or skeptical of what you’re told? Give us an example!
  2. What stood out to you most from today’s conversation?
  3. Which Psalm (22 or 88) did you identify with more, and why?
  4. Have you ever had a question or doubt about God? Share it, if you feel comfortable.
  5. Have you ever shared one of your questions or doubts about God with someone else? If so, how did that conversation go?
  6. Has anyone ever shared a question or a doubt with you? If so, how did you feel and respond? Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
  7. When was the last time you talked to God about one of your questions or doubts?
  8. Based on our conversation today, what do you think God would want us to know about our questions or doubts?
  9. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What can we learn from this passage about dealing with our own doubts and questions?
  10. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions?
  11. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see others’ doubts or questions?

Try This

Challenge students to take a few moments to write a psalm to God, expressing any questions or doubts they might have. It could be a poem, a song, a letter, or even a drawing.


WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 09/02/2020: NOW & LATER WK5

BOTTOM LINE

Wisdom now can help you miss mistakes later.

SCRIPTURE

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs
3:5-6 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that making good decisions today can positively impact their tomorrow.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—in this phase, students might not be able to tell the difference between good and bad gut instincts. Some students might interpret an impulse or peer pressure as a “gut instinct” that they should follow. This week, aim to help them begin to understand that this tension exists, and that the more you listen to wise people, the wiser your instincts will become.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s one thing you hope is true about your life in 5 days? 5 months? 5 years?
  2. How would you describe 6th grade you? What’s one thing you thought in 6th grade that you see differently now?
  3. What’s one “gray area” of your life where you have to make decisions that aren’t clearly right or wrong?
  4. What do you do with the questions you have that you can’t just Google?
  5. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What do you think it means to “lean not on your own understanding”?
  6. How do you decide if someone is a good advice-giver
    or not?
  7. When can trusting your gut be a good thing? When can it be bad?
  8. How would your life be different if you never asked God or other people for wisdom?
  9. Where are one or two places you can go for wisdom when you need it?

TRY THIS

Leaders—Proverbs is a book of wisdom written by an older person to help those younger than him, and this week we want to give our students the opportunity to do something similar!

Pass out one “I wish I knew” card along and one pen to each student. Give students a minute or two to fill in the blanks of the following sentence with wisdom they’ve learned and want to pass along to others: I wish I knew __________ because __________. Remind your students that the goal is to share wisdom that they’ve learned in their own lives and why that wisdom might be valuable for someone younger than them to learn now. Leaders: It may be helpful to provide your OWN answer to get your group thinking about their answers before they write them down.

I wish I knew every family was dysfunctional because then I wouldn’t be so hard on my own.

After everyone has written down their wisdom, share them with the group, and then collect the cards and pass them along to your Ministry Leader. Your Ministry Leader will select a few standout cards to feature on screen as students come into your large group environment for the remainder of the series.

QUOTE

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” —Augustine


WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 08/26/2020: COLOR RUSH EVENT

Come out to the ball field at 6:30 for a fun night of games and fellowship for Color Rush. 


WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 08/19/2020: NOW & LATER SERIES

SCRIPTURE

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1 NIV).

 BOTTOM LINE

A good reputation is good for you now and good for you later.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand how making good decisions about their reputation can lead them to the friends they want now and the opportunities they want later.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Should you care about what people think and say about you? Why or why not? (Leaders—let students discuss this for a few minutes to get your discussion started.)
  2. How is caring about what people think different than caring about your relationships with people?
  3. Read Proverbs 22:1. How does a bad reputation possibly hold someone back? What are the advantages of a
    good reputation?
  4. Without using names, how have you seen a good/bad reputation affect lives?
  5. What are some ways you can repair a bad reputation?
  6. By the time you graduate, what do you personally want to be known for by . . .
    1. Your church friends?
    2. Your school friends?
    3. The adults in your life?
  7. What can you start doing now to have that reputation with those groups?

TRY THIS

Leaders—as a closing activity, take each character trait below one by one and ask your students on a scale of 1-10 how they think 1) their parents would rate them, 2) their school friends would rate them, and 3) their church friends would rate them.

  • Trustworthiness
  • Kindness
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Patience
  • Realness

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—it might be easy for this week’s conversation to get hyper-focused on bad reputations and where they can lead. While it’s important to talk about the consequences of a bad reputation, it could end up making our students feel unhealthy shame or guilt if the conversation stays there. Try to keep the conversation positive and moving. Talk about where a good reputation can lead and what it takes to fix a bad reputation.

QUOTE

“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” —D.L. Moody


WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 08/12/2020: NOW & LATER SERIES

BOTTOM LINE

The end you want tomorrow is connected to what you do today.

SCRIPTURE

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that their actions now can lead them to the places they want to be and the person they want to become later.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever set a goal and achieved it? What was it?
  2. What’s one goal that you’ve been afraid or hesitant to go after?
  3. Read Proverbs 14:23 NIV. It’s tempting to think this verse is talking about money, but we all know that not all wealth comes from hard work and not all poverty comes from laziness. So, what is this verse really getting at? (Leaders—be sure to review the “Think About This” before asking this question.  As it relates to this discussion, in this verse, profit = reaching a goal, and poverty = not reaching a goal.)
  4. What are the biggest obstacles that keep us from achieving our goals? Why’s it easier to talk about a goal than actually start it?
  5. Why do you think it’s important for us to set goals for ourselves even in high school?
  6. What does it look like to begin acting like an “owner” when it comes to our goals for the future?
  7. We have more ownership over our goals than we sometimes think. Does that idea make you feel better or worse?
  8. “The end you want tomorrow is connected to what you do today.” Think of one thing you want for your future. What’s one goal you could set to make that future a reality?

TRY THIS

Leaders—using some notecards and pens or the Notes app on your phone, encourage your students to write down the one goal they want to start working on this week. Then, check in with your students later in the week to see how
it’s going.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—the proverb we looked at this week says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” In group this week, be clear about what this proverb is not saying. In this verse, profit does not equal material wealth. Remember that you have students coming from all different socio-economic levels and avoid talking about poverty and profit in overly simplistic ways. Instead, steer the conversation toward the understanding that “profit” is the benefit we get from hard work—in any form.

QUOTE

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ―Mother Theresa


WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 08/05/2020: 

MZS will hang out in the gym, have snacks, and a short devotional. 

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 07/29/2020: 

BOTTOM LINE

If you want to be heard, use gentle words.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that choosing to use gentle words can help them keep their influence and lead to healthier relationships.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What are some ways you’re harsh with people that don’t involve words?
  2. Which of the following ways of being harsh are you most tempted to use? Sarcasm, brutal honesty, social media, clapback, ignoring them.
  3. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a harsh word? If so, what did that feel like?
  4. Has someone ever responded to you in a kinder way than you felt like you deserved? If so, what happened?
  5. Why does a “gentle answer” often diffuse a situation
    or argument? 
  6. What does mending a relationship look like after you’ve said something you now regret?
  7. Without naming names, in what relationship do you need to start using less harsh words/tone this week?
  8. In a culture where people often don’t use gentle words, why is it important for Jesus followers to be good at this?
  9. What does answering with gentle words look like practically?

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—the specific proverb we looked at this week mentioned “a gentle word.” Be sure to steer the conversation to include the body language we use and the tone we speak with. The truth is, teenagers are really good at getting a reaction from people. But, they’re oftentimes not great at getting the reaction they want—and part of that may be because they aren’t aware of the message their body language and tone is communicating.

TRY THIS

Leaders—to wrap things up, spend a few minutes brainstorming ways we can calm ourselves down before responding/reacting in potentially triggering situations this week. (e.g. count to 10 before responding, take 3 deep breaths, etc.)

QUOTE

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” —Mother Teresa


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

JULY 26TH, 2020- MORE THAN ON OUR OWN

Biblical Passage

Joshua 1:1–9Supporting Passages

Ephesians 6:1–10Deuteronomy 21:23Matthew 28:16–20Memory Verse

Joshua 1:9Biblical Truth

Because we do not have the option to not engage the world, God has promised to be with us every step of the way.Context

It was never God’s intention that humanity should live and act independent from Him. His promise was and is that He will be there and will never leave us nor forsake us. As Joshua was preparing to lead the Israelites into the land God that had promised, it was important for him to remember that the God who had maintained His presence among the people and had guided the steps of Moses would also do the same for Joshua and the people. In this last lesson of the Squeeze series, students will see that God has handed us the task of going into the world and presenting ourselves as His witnesses. His promise continues: “I am with you always.”Learning Goals

  • Explore: Your students will understand that no matter what the circumstances are and no matter what God’s assignment is, His promise is to go before us, go with us, and never leave us.
  • Transform: Your students will begin to value God’s promise that He is faithful to remain with us no matter what we are going through.

View the entire lesson plan here: More-Than-On-Our-Own


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

JULY 19TH, 2020- PUSH THROUGH IT

Biblical Passage

Philippians 3:12–4:1Supporting Passages

Philippians 3:7–11Hebrews 6:1–12Memory Verse

Philippians 3:13–14Biblical Truth

Though it can be so difficult at times that others falter, we must stand firm and strive for the goal that is in Christ Jesus.Context

Paul was an extreme example of perseverance. His very life and ministry gave definition to the word. It was fitting that he call on Christians everywhere to follow his example of pushing forward toward a goal even though the road was hard and often cruel and dangerous. In this fifth lesson of the Squeeze series, we’ll see that God never promised that life for the believer would be easy and that there are no assurances of safety along the way. There is, however, the assurance of the prize waiting at the end.Learning Goals

  • Explore: Students will understand what it looks like to live a life that is goal-oriented and know how to persevere through the difficulties that seek to prevent them from reaching the goal.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by determining weaknesses that keep them from maturing and reaching goals in their spiritual life.

View the whole lesson plan here: Push-Through-It


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

JULY 12TH, 2020- LOVING THE UNLOVABLE

Biblical Passage

Luke 6:27–36Supporting Passages

Matthew 5:43–47Memory Verse

Luke 6:27–28Biblical Truth

Our response to those with whom we have conflict should be to love them.Context

This lesson comes from Luke’s account of the Teachings of the Kingdom, better known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus reintroduced the teachings of God that had been taught from the Law but had become cluttered by the interpretations of religious leaders and theologians down through the ages. Jesus’ words must have fallen fresh on the ears of His disciples as He gave them things to think about that were either culturally unacceptable at that time or that they simply had not considered before.Learning Goals

  • Explore: Your students will understand that in order to deal with people who are hard to love, their way of thinking has to change.
  • Transform: Your students will apply ways that they may share their love instead of their hatred and animosity in an effort to have their minds changed.

View the whole lesson plan here: Loving-the-Unlovable


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

JULY 5TH, 2020- GOING ON THE DEFENSE

Biblical Passage

Ephesians 6:10–18Supporting Passages

Joshua 1:6–9John 16:33Memory Verse

Ephesians 6:10Biblical Truth

There are forces of spiritual evil at work around us, but God has equipped us to withstand that evil.Context

Evil is a reality, existing both externally and internally. It is part of sin that inhabits this life. Paul wanted to reassure the Christians at Ephesus that although there were strong evil forces at work in the world, Christ’s followers would not be defenseless. We have been equipped with everything that we need to more than withstand the attacks of Satanic forces. The third lesson in the Squeeze series teaches students that they have the strong armor of God that will never be overcome by evil when it is applied and used. We just need to know that it’s always available to us and that we never have to be caught off guard.Learning Goals

  • Explore: Students will understand that they are not defenseless against the forces of evil but rather that they have been given a defense that comes only from God.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by identifying ways in which each of the parts of the armor of God can be appropriately used.

View the whole lesson plan here: Going-on-the-Defense

WEDNESDAY ACTIVITIES 06/30/2020: 

MZS day trip to Lake Lanier Islands Water Park. 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

JUNE 28TH, 2020- THE ENEMY WITHIN

Biblical Passage

Romans 7:14–8:2Supporting Passages

Galatians 5:16–18Memory Verse

Romans 8:1–2Biblical Truth

There is conflict within us between our spirit and our flesh that can only be overcome by the grace of Jesus Christ.Context

We battle an enemy. Sometimes that enemy is the outside world. But what if the enemy is within? In his explanation of sin and how it relates to the Law, Paul shared with the Christians at Rome that they could expect for there to be a continuing battle raging within them. Although saved from sin, our spirits still inhabit corrupt and sinful bodies that are tempted to live out our sinful desires. This creates a tension that requires us to live by the faith that we profess in Jesus Christ, who enables us to overcome the flesh. Squeeze. Lesson 2 helps your students understand this tension.Learning Goals

  • Explore: Students will understand the dangers of thinking that they are somehow immune to any conflict between the spirit and the flesh.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by identifying ways that they may fall back on Christ to help them overcome their sinful nature.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: The Enemy Within

NO WEDNESDAY NIGHT ACTIVITIES 06/24/2020: 


SUNDAY MORNING LIFEGROUP STUDY:

JUNE 21ST, 2020- THE REAL ENEMY

Biblical Passage

John 15:18–2516:33Supporting Passages

Romans 1:28–32Matthew 5:10Memory Verse

John 15:20Biblical Truth

True followers of Christ will encounter opposition in a world that doesn’t want to understand the nature of God and His ways.Context

Jesus did not represent the kind of ‘Messiah’ that the Jews of that day had expected. He represented a kingdom not of this world, its way of thinking, or its expectations. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that although following Him had eternal value, there was a cost to be paid in a world who neither knew Him, nor cared anything about His message and teachings of the Kingdom of God. These six lessons will help students define what they’re up against, and how they are to do battle in a world of opposition.Learning Goals

  • Explore: Your students will understand that if they choose to follow Christ and be obedient to Him, then it’s not a question of if but when they will face persecution for their commitment.
  • Transform: Your students will begin to value a life so committed to Christ that they will be willing to face persecution for His sake.

Wednesday Night Worship 06/17/2020: 

REC Night on the MZ baseball field with snacks. 


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

June 14th, 2020- Barnabas: Supporting as we go

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Barnabas constantly uplifted and supported those around him as he lived his life on mission for God.

Context

The call to be on mission does not discard the giftedness of individuals. God has made us unique, and He uses us in distinctive ways as He equips us for His purposes. In this last lesson of Living Loud, we see that Barnabas had a particular role to play. He was not cut out of the same mold as Paul. His was a supporting role as an encourager, and although there is not quite as much to read about him as Paul, it doesn’t mean that his role was not just as important and useful to God. We can see through all of these lessons that God gifted and used His servants uniquely to accomplish His mission.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand the value of support and encouragement as demonstrated by Barnabas throughout the book of Acts.
  • Transform: Students will begin to value just how important it is for them to encourage and support each other in the midst of a world that can often be hostile.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

June 7th, 2020- Philip: Anytime, Anywhere

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Philip was willing for God to use him anytime and anywhere.

Context

Phillip’s lack of hesitation to go into the desert even though he didn’t know why he was going there is evidence of a willing and trusting heart that is useful to God. In Living Loud, we have looked at different characters of Scripture who made themselves available to God under all circumstances. This week we will consider what it means to be part of God’s mission that calls us to be ready at a moment’s notice. Philip’s willingness to be available to God may have had a great impact on the Kingdom of God on an entirely different continent.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will learn that God wants them to be available to Him in any situation.
  • Transform: Students will identify potential opportunities in their daily lives to be on mission with God.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Philip-Anytime-anywhere  

Wednesday Night Worship 06/03/2020: 

Summer Kick off Party on the baseball field @ 6:30pm


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 31st, 2020- Nehemiah: Rising to the Challenge

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

In the face of great odds and much ridicule, Nehemiah and the Jews rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall.

Context

While we would like to think that people would cheer us on as we strive to carry out God’s mission, the reality is that we are likely to encounter scorn and ridicule from those who stand in opposition to God’s plans. Living Loud means that whenever that happens, we need to rely on God’s strength to continue to carry out His work, because if it is His work, then He will accomplish it. And He chooses to accomplish it through us.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will learn that when God calls them to a task, He will provide them with the strength to complete it.
  • Transform: Your students will evaluate their lives and look for how God is strengthening them for the tasks to which He has called them.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Nehemiah-Rising-to-the-Challenge

Wednesday Night Worship 05/27/2020: POST PONED

Summer Kick off Party on the baseball field.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 24th, 2020- John the Baptist: On Mission Regardless of Cost

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

John the Baptist paid the ultimate price for living his life on mission.

Context

Any study of the lives of the prophets makes one truth painfully clear—obedience is often costly. If we are going to be on mission with God, then we have to be willing to pay the price. Living Loud means that bearers of the gospel of Jesus Christ will discover that some people do not receive the gospel as good news. But even if our efforts are met with hostility and our very lives are threatened, God calls us to be faithful to His mission.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will learn that there is often a cost for living on mission with God.
  • Transform: Your students will identify ways in which living on mission for God might cost them and evaluate how committed they are to staying on mission.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: John-the-Baptist-On-Mission-Regardless-of-Cost 

Wednesday Night Worship 05/20/2020: 

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do – Week 3  

 BOTTOM LINE

When you don’t know what to do, do the next right thing.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that doing the right thing is doing the right thing today and not controlling the outcome for tomorrow.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 39:2-10

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What would you do if…You found a $1 bill on the ground? Or $100?
  2. Who is someone you know who shows “integrity”? How do they show it?
  3. What are some things that keep us from doing the right thing?
  4. How can doing the next right thing cost you something?
  5. Why should we care about “doing the right thing”?
  6. How does choosing to do the right thing affect the people around you?
  7. By doing the right thing, Joseph proved himself to be a person with integrity. What does it look like to be a person with integrity in high school?
  8. At this point, talk through the “The Next Right Step” decision making card. (Note to Ministry Leader: This card is found in the XP folder in your curriculum download). If you do not have the printed cards, have students write down their answers to the following questions:
    1. I don’t know what to do about ______________.
    2. I can talk to______________.

The next right step for me to take is to ______________.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, when students were little kids, they made decisions based on outcomes and consequences. Part of becoming a mature person is making decisions based on value and identity, on WHO we want to be, not just whether we want to get into trouble. The tricky part is maturity doesn’t happen all at once. Through conversations like this one, as leaders we can guide our students along each point on this journey and help point students in a more mature direction.

 

TRY THIS

Leaders, this week follow up with your students and talk about the XP questions. Sometimes in group, talks about doing the right thing can be difficult to discuss in group, but more discussion can be prompted when you follow up outside
of group.

QUOTE

“The time is always right to do the right thing.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 17th, 2020- Elijah: On mission in a Hostile World

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God encouraged Elijah to stay committed to His mission even though the world around Elijah was hostile.

Context

Elijah knew what it was like to live his life out loud. But in doing so, it meant running up against opposition. Accepting God’s invitation to be on mission with Him requires a step of faith; remaining committed to God’s mission when the going gets tough often requires us to make a leap of faith. In this second lesson of Living Loud, we’ll discover that God never promised us that it would be easy to be on mission with Him—but He did promise us that He would always be with us. Even when it seems that things are spinning out of control in this world, we need to remember that God is still sovereign and that He will accomplish His purposes in His time.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will learn that even as the world around them may be hostile to their lifestyle, God calls them to stay committed to Him.
  • Transform: Students will begin to value the fact that God is constantly with them as they live for Him.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Elijah-On-mission-in-a-Hostile-World

Wednesday Night Worship 05/13/2020: 

BOTTOM LINE

When there’s nothing you can do, God is with you.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 37:18-22 NIV, Genesis 37:32 NIV, and Genesis 39:2a, NIV.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To have students understand that when circumstances are out of our control, we can be sure God is with them. The idea is for students to know that even if things in their lives don’t feel fixed or better, they can have confidence in God being present.

This guide is a suggestion, not a formula. Adjust the questions and activities as needed, and don’t feel like you need to do, or ask, everything you see here.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Describe a situation where you felt things were out of your control. (Examples: a pandemic that forces a national lockdown, being stuck in traffic, when the electricity goes out, etc).
What are some words you would use to describe what you felt in that situation? What’s the worst part of being in that situation?
In your own words, describe Joseph’s situation. What do you think were some thoughts Joseph had while in the cistern? What would be some of your thoughts?
One of the worst parts of Joseph’s situation was his being alone. Why do you think situations that feel out of our control are more difficult to handle when you feel alone?
If you weren’t alone in that situation, how would it have changed how you felt about it?
What are some ways we can be reminded that God is with us?
Why do we often want to have perfect resolutions, even when we know they don’t always happen?
Don’t skip this: What could help you get through situations when you feel stuck?
If one of your friends were in that situation, what would you say to them or remind them?

TRY THIS

Leaders, this week will present a lot of tensions that may not be resolved, challenge your students to read and memorize this verse or find something that can remind them that they’re not alone and that God is with them.

THINK ABOUT THIS

This week may feel like there isn’t a resolution by the end. Try to avoid resolving the tension this week creates by tying everything up in a bow. Remember, the idea isn’t to try to make everything sound “fixed” by the end of our time together, but to reassure students of the reality of God being with them, even when circumstances don’t go how we like or when we are left with more question marks than answers.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 10th, 2020- Moses: Surrender to the Mission

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Though he felt inadequate, Moses surrendered to God’s call to mission.

Context

While most of us claim to want to be on mission with God, when His call to action comes, we often hesitate. Isn’t someone else better equipped to carry out this task? What is this going to cost me? Isn’t there another way? If we are going to surrender to God’s call to mission, then we have to learn to trust Him—to trust that God is sovereign, trust that He can indeed use us despite all of our flaws, and trust that the success of the mission ultimately rests in God’s hands and not our own. These six lessons in the Living Loud series will take a closer look at the specific lives of those who responded to God’s call to the mission, living their lives out loud for the world to see and hear.

Learning Goals

• Explore: Students will learn that God calls unlikely people to carry out His mission.
• Transform: Students will examine their willingness to surrender to God’s call to mission.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Moses-Surrender-to-the-Mission

Wednesday Night Worship 05/06/2020: 

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do- week 1

BOTTOM LINE

Pay attention to how you affect your family.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To have students begin to see the role they play in their family dynamic, and to encourage students to behave in a way that elevates others in their family over themselves.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 37:6-8 NIV

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross (Philippians 2:3-8 NIV).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s something you do at home that you wouldn’t do at school or vice versa? (Example: You throw your food away in the cafeteria, but you don’t take your food in from the table at home.)
  2. If you were one of Joseph’s brothers, how would you describe Joseph? If you were Joseph, how would you describe your siblings?
  3. What you have said to help Joseph approach this situation differently with his brothers?
  4. How could understanding the brothers’ point of view change Joseph’s actions towards them? How has not seeing a situation from others’ perspective caused conflict in your family?
  5. Think about a time where you were in the middle of a family conflict. How could seeing things from someone else’s perspective have caused that situation to go differently?
  6. Read Philippians 2:3-8. How is choosing to see someone else’s perspective over your own valuing others
    above yourself?
  7. What are some reasons why this passage could be more difficult to live out with our families than with others?
  8. What are some situations where being unselfish with your family would be difficult? (Example: who controls the remote, who does the dishes etc.) What could you do differently?
  9. When a conflict happens with your family this week, what are some ways you can consider someone else’s perspective before acting out of your own interests?

TRY THIS

Leaders, follow up with your students to remind them that when a situation with their family comes up, to consider their family’s perspective before they respond. Help them with that perspective by asking questions about both their perspective and what they think the other family members’ perspective may have.

THINK ABOUT THIS

In this phase, a lack of self-awareness is developmentally normal. It may be hard for students to see how they contribute to different conflicts in their family setting. Gently try to turn their attention to how they may be contributing to family conflict (without judging them or creating shame) but by trying to open their eyes to compassion and empathy for others in their family.

QUOTE

“What can you do to promote peace? Go home and love your family.” -Mother Teresa


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 3rd, 2020- Cause & Effect

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Living the gospel message by the endurance and encouragement granted to us by God brings glory to God.

Context

Often the focus of the gospel message can be placed on what it means for us. However, the work of the gospel in and through our lives ought to result in our glorifying God (which means to make Him known). Everything comes back to Him. This last lesson in Crux brings to light the fact that although it’s not always easy or even what we want to do, as we continue to live together in accordance with the message of the gospel, we participate in the fruit of the message: the praise and worship of God.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that we are given encouragement and endurance to live out the gospel in unity with other believers.
  • Transform: Your students will apply how to live out the gospel by learning to live in unity with other believers.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:Cause-and-Effect 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/29/2020: 

FRVR FREE VIRTUAL CONCERT & ZOOM MEETINGS


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 26th, 2020- The Good Life

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
 
Biblical Truth

Since we have been entrusted with the message of salvation, we must prove to be faithful in all of our actions, overcoming evil with good.

Context

Crux reminds us that the gospel is practical on every level. This fifth lesson basically reminds us that we have to practice what we preach. Because we are called to present the message of the gospel to the world, we also have to live purposefully in alignment with that message. We want others to look at our lives and be able to see what the gospel means instead of just hearing about it when we talk. Romans 12:9–21 isn’t an exhaustive list of what this should look like, but it does remind us of the importance of doing good.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that the message of the gospel should be made known through the way they live.
  • Transform: Students will identify areas of their lives that both do and don’t line up with the gospel and commit to living a life of good.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:The-Good-Life 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/22/2020: Happy Easter Series

BOTTOM LINE

Easter means you’re never alone.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to have the confidence to know that they’re never alone because the Holy Spirit is there for them personally and shows up through others.

SCRIPTURE

“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 NLT).        

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s one unpopular opinion you think you might be alone in having? (For example: “Star Wars Episode 1 was the best!” or “Taylor Swift is only ‘okay.’”)
  2. When is being alone a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  3. In what area of your life do you feel alone?
  4. How can the way you see situations change when you know you are never alone?
  5. What are some reasons you might think that Jesus said to the disciples that it’s better to have the Holy Spirit rather than Him?
  6. When you start to feel alone, what are some ways that you can remind yourself that you are never alone?
  7. Don’t miss this: Why is it still hard to face difficult situations even when you know you’re not alone?
  8. Talk about a time when God showed up for you through other people. [Note: Be prepared to share a story from your life first.]
  9. Don’t miss this: In what area of life can this small group be there for you right now?

TRY THIS

Pay particular attention to students who share areas where they feel alone, and reach out to them this week by shooting them a text that says: “Hey, thanks for sharing ______ this week. I’d love to be there for you when it comes to this area.
How can I help?”

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, at this phase, it can be difficult for students to have the perspective that their current situation won’t last forever. So if they feel alone, it seems they’ll be alone forever. If they feel sad, it seems they’ll be sad forever. And while it’s tempting to say, “This isn’t forever,” that isn’t exactly helpful right now. Instead, try letting students know they’re never alone, no matter how long this season or circumstance may last.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 19th, 2020- Getting the Word Out

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Because everyone can be saved through faith, the message of salvation must be shared with all people.

Context

This fourth lesson in Crux brings to light a crucial aspect of sharing our faith. To be effective, our witness must lead people to a faith relationship with God in Jesus Christ. The two previous lessons provided the basic biblical facts that point toward salvation. The first fact is that people have sinned and broken their relationship with God. The second fact is that Jesus’ death provides forgiveness and reconciliation. Salvation results from putting full faith in these truths in our hearts and proclaiming them to others. In this passage, Paul also traces the process that brings the message of salvation to others. He says that someone must be sent to preach so that people can hear the message and thus believe. This pattern is still the way that we should share the Word with the world.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand the plan and process that God has set up for reaching the world with His good news.
  • Transform: Your students will practice the skill of sharing how others can express faith in Christ and receive His salvation.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Getting-the-Word-Out 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/15/2020: Happy Easter

BOTTOM LINE

Easter means new life is possible.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to know that sin leads to death in one way or another, but there is always hope for new life.

SCRIPTURE

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans
6:23 NLT).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. When you think about Easter and the Easter story, how is the way that we celebrate it (eggs, pastels, chocolate, etc.) not necessarily accurate?
  2. What are some sins that most people think are a big deal? What are some sins that people think aren’t a big deal?
  3. Why is there so much baggage when people talk about sin?
  4. We said earlier that sin always leads to the death of something. Obviously, sin won’t always cause you to die, but what can sin cause the death of?
  5. Have you already seen how sin has caused the death or end of something in your life? Would you be willing to share that? Or another way to phrase this question: Where have you already seen sin cause the death of something in your life?
  6. Don’t miss this: What are some areas in your life where you need new life?
  7. If new life is always possible and Jesus has already paid for your sin, why does it matter if we sin? How does it benefit us to avoid sin? Or why would we want to? [Note: Small Group Leaders, try to tie the conversation back to this: Because God wants more for us, it’s going to hurt us in one way or another.]

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, at this phase, students are developing a faith of their own and often that will mean questioning what they’ve always been taught and why it matters. When talking about sin, it can be helpful to unpack not only how God deals with it but why it matters to Him at all. That’s why this week is a great opportunity to remind students that sin always leads to the death of someone or something. And because God loves you, He always says “no” to things that will ultimately hurt you.

TRY THIS

Be observant of students that you may need to follow up with for faith decisions. See the salvation conversation guide below:

SALVATION CONVERSATION GUIDE FOR STUDENTS

There may be one word that best describes teenagers and the phase they’re in right now: ownership. They’re looking at the world around them and the things they’ve inherited from their family—the traditions, morals, values, and faith. And they’re making decisions about whether what they’ve observed is something they want for themselves. The decisions that students make now about salvation and a relationship with Jesus carry a lot of weight because they’re old enough to understand what that means for their future. The best thing for a student to understand at this point in their lives is that God is for them. And that, in all things, His grace is real, and it covers all of their sin—past, present, and future.

WHAT TO SAY:

GOD LOVES YOU

  • You were made in the image of God. God sees you, He accepts you, and He loves you.
  • But we’re broken. We behave in a way that’s harmful to ourselves and separates us from God. That’s called sin. Sin convinces us to focus on ourselves—that we matter most and we know best. While God isn’t mad at us, He does know our sin will hurt us—it harms how we understand ourselves, how we treat others, and how we view Him.
  • Our sin keeps us from seeing what’s true about God, ourselves, and others. Sin convinces us that we know best, that God is against us, and that we matter more than those around us. Ultimately, sin keeps us from God Himself.
  • ASK: How have you seen sin hurt you? How have you seen sin hurt others? What is the biggest problem of sin?

GOD IS FOR YOU

  • God knew our sin would make us want to hide from Him and look out only for our best interest with no regard for others.
  • God also knew that when we sin, we’d think God would want to come after us to punish us. And that we’d be tempted to distance ourselves from Him to avoid His punishment. But God isn’t interested in punishing our sin as revenge. Instead, He wants to free us to live for something better.
  • To prove how committed God was to life with us and for us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to go to the greatest length possible to demonstrate His love. Jesus died on the cross for us to show us God is for us. Jesus paid the price of our sin with His death.
  • After three days, Jesus was resurrected from the dead, proving He has ultimate power, and that He can do what He says He’ll do. And we can know that nothing—not even death—can separate us from Him. When we put our faith in Him, He has the power to transform ourlives and to make us new.
  • ASK: What was the purpose of God sending Jesus to die? How do you feel about someone who is willing to die for you? How did sending Jesus deal with our problem with sin?

WHOEVER BELIEVES IN JESUS

  • Believing in what God demonstrated through Jesus is like accepting a gift.
  • We accept the gift when we decide to trust that the God who made us is for us—that He is willing to do anything to prove His love and He wants what’s best for us. We show trust by living in a way that reflects our confidence in what God says is best.
  • We know that God loves us and nothing we do could ever jeopardize our standing with Him. No amount of good behavior and no amount of sin will change the way He feels about us.
  • We open the gift when we use our lives to give the same love to others that Jesus showed to us.
  • ASK: What does it mean to trust what God did for us? How does knowing about God’s love change the way we see Him? How does someone live differently when they trust that God loves them?

WHAT NOT TO SAY:

  1. “Invite Jesus into your heart.”

For students, the phrase “inviting Jesus into my heart” can sound childish and not fully represent the important faith decision being made.

  1. “You have to pray like this . . . ”

Students are going to express their faith through their own understanding of it. Don’t get hung up on the “right words” but rather the heart with which they pray.

  1. Any answers you make up

Don’t make up answers to question you don’t know yourself. “I don’t know” is a legitimate answer to questions that your student has about faith. There’s so much we don’t understand about how God works and how the Holy Spirit enters our life. And that’s okay.

Preparing for and having this conversation with the students in your group might raise some of your own. If so, don’t hesitate to reach out to a ministry leader at your church to chat about these things.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 12th, 2020- He is Not Here (Easter)

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Table Talk Question

How different would our story be if Jesus had been found dead in His tomb?

Biblical Truth

Jesus completed His work through His death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb.

Biblical Context

Jesus came to earth to be with us, to minister to us, and to teach us about God. Without His sacrificial death on the cross, He would have been a great teacher who taught strongly held convictions of what it meant to be righteous. But He did choose to die on the cross to redeem us from our sins and bring us into the presence of God. Yet, death could not hold Him in the grave. After three days, God raised Him from the grave and resurrected Him from the dead. His death was real, and so was His resurrection. Having conquered sin and death for all eternity, He was raised victorious. Upon this truth lies the crux of Christianity—Jesus is who He said He was, and He did what He said He would do. Paul said that if the resurrection is false, Christians are to be pitied more than anyone (1 Cor. 15:19). The women who witnessed the resurrected Jesus and the empty tomb heard the angels witness to His resurrection: “Why do you seek the living among the dead. He is not here, but has risen.”

Learning Goals
  • Students will examine the evidence that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but was alive.
  • Students will verbalize what the resurrection means to them.

Here is the Master Teacher Plan for further reading:He-Is-Not-Here-Easter 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/08/2020: Happy Easter

BOTTOM LINE

Easter means fear isn’t final.

SCRIPTURE

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55 NLT).

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you  (Romans 8:11 NLT).

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that Jesus’ victory over death can help them move forward through any fear they
may face.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s one stereotypical thing you are afraid of? What’s one thing you were afraid of when you were younger?
  2. What’s a fear you’ve left behind as you’ve grown up? What’s a fear that you’ve kept or that has grown with you?
  3. What’s a very real and practical fear that you’ve noticed in the past week?
  4. Don’t miss this: In what ways can fear impact how you make decisions or determine the direction of your life?
  5. Read 1 Corinthians 15:54b-55. How does this verse differ from how most people see death?
  6. What can change when we realize that something isn’t final?
  7. Jesus defeated death, which is something people fear, what does that mean for you?
  8. What decisions would you make differently if you made them based on the fact that Jesus has defeated death and fear?

TRY THIS

Leaders, before you dismiss group, have students take the next week and try to notice one time throughout the week that they feared something in their lives. Have them bring that instance to the next group to discuss and share with
one another.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, it can be difficult for students to see how Easter impacts their daily lives. This week, we’re talking about how Jesus defeated death. Instead of getting stuck on the fear of death and dying, help students connect to what Jesus’ resurrection means in relationship to fear in their own lives.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 5th, 2020- In the Nick of Time

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God took the initiative to provide the way of salvation so that everyone can be made right with Him.

Context

This lesson in Crux focuses on the death of Jesus and how He made salvation available for all people. Jesus’ death was the payment for sin that justifies us and reconciles our relationship with God. His death also demonstrates God’s love and grace. Believing these truths will cause us to rejoice and give Him glory. This lesson also helps students frame a biblical answer for the problem of sin that can be shared with others.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that only through Christ’s death on the cross could the power of sin be broken.
  • Transform: Students will practice the skill of conveying the problem of sin and the solution to sin found in Christ.

Here is the Master Teacher Plan for further reading: In-the-Nick-of-Time

Wednesday Night Worship 04/01/2020: Breakout- Becoming Who God Has called you to Be

BOTTOM LINE

You Can Be Free

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to understand the importance of guarding their hearts. Too often we settle for lesser things, and less than God’s best for us and our lives.

SCRIPTURE

Psalms 4:23 NIV

Above all else… Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Matthew 26:41 NIV

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

Jonah 2:8 NIV

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, remember that it’s ok to get real with your kids. After all we are talking about spotting the fakes and calling out counterfeits.  The reality is, our students are looking to us for guidance and they need true and genuine leaders to pour into their lives.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What are some objects that you have seen counterfeited?
  2. Have you ever owned a “Fake” of something?
  3. a follow up question to that… Was it worth the price you paid?
  4. What is something you see promoted in the media or in culture, that makes sin seem acceptable?
  5. How can you spot sin, and stop it from taking root in your life?
  6. How are you investing your time, money, and talents?
  7. What things have we allowed to take the place of God in our lives?
  8. What can you do to turn our attention back to God?
  9. Does Your Life Reflect Jesus?

READ THIS

Does Your Life Reflect Jesus?  Or Are You Faking It?

An idol of the heart is anything that captures my love in such a way that I’m distracted from my first love for God. Things, money, pleasures, hobbies, sports, careers, positions of power, or other people can all become idols. If you are loving anything too much, it can take the place of God.

Have you allowed anything into your life or your home that is impure, unholy, ungodly, or unbecoming of a Christ follower? Get rid of it. Whether others know or not, keep your life and your home pure and clean before God.

Love God and one another.  Demonstrate your love for God by spending time with him… Demonstrate your love for others by serving and by meeting needs.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 29th, 2020- Everyone Blows It

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

All people have sinned and broken their relationship with God but can be saved through faith in Jesus.

Context

This second lesson in Crux reveals the problem that people have in their relationship with God and the solution that He offers through faith in Jesus. Some people might believe that they are good enough on their own merit to be right with God. Others might believe that they can never be right because of what they’ve done. In this lesson, the opportunity is provided to learn how to respond to these arguments and give a clear testimony about the true path to a relationship with God. Sin is the problem that must be faced by all of humanity. The first step on the path toward salvation is recognition of our sin.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that apart from faith expressed in Jesus Christ, no one can be saved.
  • Transform: Your students will practice the skill of sharing how one may enter into a relationship with Christ through faith.

Here is the Master Teacher Plan for further reading: Everyone-Blows-It

Wednesday Night Worship 03/25/2020:

Save the Date wk 3

BOTTOM LINE

You owe it to yourself to be honest to yourself.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to understand that being honest with themselves and the people their dating can save themselves from regret both now and later.

SCRIPTURE

2 Samuel 11:1 NIV

In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 11:3 NIV

He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, remember that some students will need a safe place to talk about their dating relationships (and relationships in general!). Also remember that you will have students in different places when it comes to self-awareness in their dating relationships. Watch for students that you may need to follow up with in a setting outside of small group.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. If you could look at a bio you wrote about yourself two years ago, how much would still be true?
  2. Without naming names or giving specifics, how have you seen someone not being honest with themselves in a dating relationship? How did you see this go wrong?
  3. What are some clues to know you’re not being honest with yourself?
  4. What is an area where you find yourself thinking: That may be true for everyone else, but it isn’t true for me or us? What can make you think you are the exception?
  5. How can it be helpful to have someone else in your life who can “call you out” when you’re not being honest
    with yourself?
  6. What’s an area where being honest with yourself now can save you or your
    relationships later?
  7. Don’t miss this: What can you do to practice being honest with yourself?

TRY THIS

Leaders, this week, try challenging your students to ask themselves: “What is best now? Will it still be the best for
me later?”


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 22nd, 2020- Something for Everyone

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God’s salvation is available to anyone and everyone.

Context

Everything has a place where the rubber hits the road. We call it the crux. In our Christian faith, the book of Romans seeks to help us grasp a clear understanding of what it means to be “saved.” We begin by first discovering that the message of the gospel is that God’s salvation is available to anyone and everyone. We then have the opportunity for two responses to this message: First, we have to choose whether to accept God’s salvation in faith. Second, if we do, then our second response is to acknowledge and accept the call to share this message with all people. The first lesson of Crux will help your students to begin thinking about how they can talk to others about the gospel.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that they possess the most powerful message that can be offered to the world: the gospel.
  • Transform: Students will practice the skill of formulating the gospel message into words that they can share with others.

To access the whole teaching plan CLICK HERE

Wednesday Night Worship 03/18/2020: Save the Date

BOTTOM LINE

Don’t make anyone your everything.

SCRIPTURE

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are wise (Ephesians 5:15 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand what they miss if they become obsessed with dating; and to encourage them to become well-rounded people.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Name one person, place, or thing that is taking up space mentally and emotionally right now or this week?
  2. How do you know when you’re obsessed with something/someone?
  3. Who do you text/Snapchat/DM from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.? What are you talking about?
  4. What do you miss out on when you’re too serious about someone or something?
  5. Who are you not spending time with?
  6. Who do you have in your life that can help you see that you’re too into it?

Don’t miss this: Aside from dating, what are the top one or two things you do not want to miss out on in school? How can obsession cause you to miss out (including youth group)?

TRY THIS

Leaders, give your students a short, “You might be obsessed if . . .” quiz. While these signs might be real, don’t take it too seriously!

  1. You start to listen to their music even if (or especially if) it’s terrible.
  2. When three minutes is too long to respond to their text.
  3. You make decisions about whether you’re going to an event based off of them.
  4. You feel a twinge of jealously when you see them talk to another guy/girl.
  5. You get upset when people offer you advice about your relationship or if someone offers her/him advice.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, students can be obsessed about anything, not just relationships. They’re being told, “you need to take this more seriously.” It’s our role in their lives to know the difference between healthy responsibility and unhealthy obsession. One of the best ways to help students understand that difference is by helping them gain the ability to know and identify signs of both.

QUOTE

“Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are.” -Henry Cloud


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 15th, 2020- Guide to Life

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Context

The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth to the glory of God.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that when faced with questions or uncertainty in life, the Holy Spirit will guide them into truth.
  • Transform: Your students will apply their understanding by confessing their questions, doubts, or uncertainties to the Spirit and by seeking His guidance.

Wednesday Night Worship 03/10/2020:

BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to dating, becoming the right person>finding the right person

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to know that no matter if they’re dating, thinking about dating, or not yet ready for dating, becoming the right person is something they can focus on now.

SCRIPTURE

Proverbs 24:27

Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 8th, 2020- The Confidence of Certainty

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Context

By now in Empowered, your students have learned that the Holy Spirit empowers them to be witnesses in service and daily living. In this lesson, Jesus explained to His disciples that He would soon depart from them and that the Holy Spirit would descend on them. Initially, Jesus’ disciples appeared to be sad about His upcoming departure. They did not yet understand that they and the entire world would benefit from His leaving. While on earth, Jesus could physically be in only one place at one time. By contrast, when the Holy Spirit came, He could be in all places at the same time. The Holy Spirit would bring conviction to the world. He would point out sin and unrighteousness. In this lesson of Empowered, your students will learn that the Holy Spirit convicts believers to grow in confidence and certainty.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that the Holy Spirit convicts people about their lives.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by opening themselves to the Spirit’s conviction and responding with acceptance, repentance, and confidence.

Wednesday Night Worship 03/04/2020: 


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 1st, 2020- NO Lesson

This weekend is LIFT 2020 and students will enjoy breakfast and large group time to end the fun weekend.

Wednesday Night Worship 02/26/2020: The Storyteller

BOTTOM LINE

Forgive like you’ve been forgiven.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want to help students realize that forgiveness is critical to their faith—both in receiving it and offering it—and that as difficult as it can be, they will never regret practicing forgiveness.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 23rd, 2020- The Big Show

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

The Holy Spirit equips us to share the news of Jesus with the world.

Context

When Jesus was preparing to leave this world, He entrusted His followers to continue telling others about Him and calling them to follow Him. It is the same charge that we are entrusted with today. Jesus, however, knew that His way was so contrary to the ways of the world that any who proclaimed it would face immense trouble and persecution. They did not know Jesus or the Father. This made it all the more important to tell people about Jesus. Still, the Lord knew that they would need help. The Spirit provides believers with that help in that He Himself testifies about Jesus and equips them to be able to do the same. The fourth lesson in the Empowered series teaches this truth to students.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Students will understand that a primary role of the Spirit is to testify about Jesus and equip them to do the same.
  • Transform Goal: Students will apply their understanding by evaluating the level of risk they are willing to take in order to identify with Christ and be His witnesses.

Wednesday Night Worship: The Storyteller

BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to prayer, don’t quit because it’s quiet.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want to help students see that choosing to pray consistently can grow their faith regardless of the outcome.

SCRIPTURE

Luke 11:5-8

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 16, 2020- How Can we Know?

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

The Spirit continues to teach us about Jesus and helps us recall all that He said and did.

Context

The Empowered course is all about the Holy Spirit and the many ways that He empowers Christ-followers to be on mission for God. By this point in the study, your students are learning that this empowerment is crucial for Godly living as God calls us to it. After all, following Jesus and being obedient to His teaching can be difficult for a number of reasons. One is simply trying to remember all that He said and did. Second, there are a number of issues and situations we face in life that Jesus didn’t specifically address. Jesus promised us that when the Holy Spirit came He would remind us of all that Jesus said and teach us all that we need to know. With the Spirit’s help we are able to overcome the difficulties of following Jesus and can let go of the stress and fear that it may place upon us, relying on the peace that He provides.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Your students will understand that the Spirit helps us to live according to Christ’s teachings by reminding us of all that He said and instructing us in all that we need to know.
  • Transform Goal: Your students will apply their understanding by identifying areas of their lives in which they currently need instruction and by listening to the Spirit’s teaching.

Wednesday Night Worship 02/12/2020: The Storyteller

BOTTOM LINE

At Jesus’ party, there’s always room for more.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want to help students see that they have the ability to affect the experience of others the way they include and invite others.

SCRIPTURE

Luke 14:16-21 NIV

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’”.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 09, 2020-Another Helper

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

The Holy Spirit is our helper and indwells all believers.

Context

In this second lesson of Empowered, we discover that in order to live a life for Christ we obviously have to obey everything that He taught us. Of course, we all know that most of the time that’s something we rarely ever get right. Jesus knew that we’d need help. He promised us, His followers, that He would ask the Father to send His Spirit to be a Helper for us, a helper like He had been. The Spirit now lives within all of Christ’s followers.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that Jesus had the Father send the Holy Spirit to help us live in love and obedience to Christ’s commands.
  • Transform: Your students will apply their understanding by evaluating their own level of reliance on the Spirit’s help.

Wednesday Night Worship 2/5/2020:

Rec Night at MZS. We will play games and fellowship in the CLC (gym).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 02, 2020- We have the Power

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
 
Biblical Truth

The Holy Spirit empowers Christians to fulfill their mission in life.

Context

This is the first lesson in the study Empowered that examines what Jesus taught His disciples about the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It begins with a look at the last thing Jesus said about the Spirit before His ascension into Heaven. He had entrusted His followers with the gospel and commissioned them to carry that gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus, however, knew that this was something that would be extremely difficult and that they would need help along the way. So He instructed them to first wait with each other in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit, at which time they would be empowered to be His witnesses.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that God’s mission for their lives cannot be accomplished without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
  • Transform: Your students will begin to value the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.

Wednesday Night Worship 01/29/2020: Biblical Foundations

BOTTOM LINE

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith, but faith is hard.   A biblical foundation is key to how we live out our faith.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that to live a life of faith it is important to have a solid foundation.

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

January 26th, 2020- Show Mercy

Biblical Passage
Biblical Truth

Our ability to show mercy to those who doubt provides a witness to God’s love.

Context

The fourth and fifth lessons of Transfer looked at ways that we can serve the world. This last lesson will examine one final way that we serve others—with a little slant. It requires that we exhibit spiritual strength as we witness to those who are hostile to our message. People who do not believe will naturally oppose the gospel message. To maintain an effective witness, your students must devote themselves to building their faith. Then, from a spiritually solid core, they can extend God’s mercy and love to those who doubt and rescue those caught in sin.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Your students will understand that as followers of Christ they are to show mercy to those who do not believe in Him.
  • Transform Goal:Your students will plan ways to deliberately act in mercy toward nonbelievers.